UNITED NATIONS – A U.N. vehicle in Syria was struck by a bullet on Sunday, a spokesman for U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said on Monday, but no one was injured and it was unclear who fired on the international observers who are monitoring an unraveling month-old ceasefire.
“The U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria confirms that one of its vehicles was hit by a bullet yesterday near the city of Homs,” Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters in New York. “No peacekeepers were injured and there was no significant damage. It is unclear who fired on the peacekeepers.”
He said there were now 189 U.N. military observers and 61 civilian staff in Syria. The U.N. Security Council has authorized the deployment of 300 observers for the mission, which is expected to reach full strength by the end of May.
A 14-month-old uprising – in which peaceful protest has given way to a sectarian-tinged insurgency in response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s violent bid to crush unrest – has brought the country to the brink of civil war.
Syrian rebels killed 23 government soldiers on Monday, activists said, and efforts to find a viable political alternative to Assad faltered when an opposition group said it would boycott Arab League-backed talks to unite its splintered ranks.