Chief UN monitor in Syria: mission irrelevant
BEIRUT—The chief U.N. observer in Syria says his mission is irrelevant without a political process seeking to end the country's civil war.
Maj. Gen. Robert Mood told reporters in Damascus Thursday that "we are not on the track for peace," citing intense fighting in and around the capital this week.
Mood's comments come a day after a rebel bomb attack struck the heart of the regime of President Bashar Assad, killing the defense minister, his deputy and a former defense minister.
The U.N. Security Council is to vote Thursday on whether to renew the monitoring mission, which expires Friday.
Syria's 16-month crisis has evolved into a civil war, with scores of rebel groups fighting to topple Assad's regime.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
Anti-regime activists say government forces are shelling a number of neighborhoods in and around the capital Damascus a day after a bomb killed three members of President Bashar Assad's inner circle.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported shelling in number of areas Thursday. It says residents are fleeing parts of the Mezzeh neighborhood after troops surrounded it and clashed with local rebels.
The group says rebels damaged one helicopter and disabled three military vehicles.
Wednesday's bombing targeted a high-level crisis meeting, killing the defense minister, his deputy, who is Assad's brother-in-law, and a former defense minister. Other officials were wounded.
The whereabouts of Assad, his wife and his three young children remain unknown.
The attack could mark a turning point in Syria's 16-month crisis.