16 August 2012"We pay tribute to the brave work of all the staff who have served with UNSMIS in extremely difficult circumstances."
A Foreign Office spokesperson said:
“Today the United Nations Security Council unanimously accepted the UN Secretary General’s recommendation that the UN observer mission, United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria’s (UNSMIS) mandate should come to an end. A small UN political presence will remain in Damascus to support the work of the Joint UN-Arab League Special Envoy.
“We regret that the situation in Syria does not allow the continuation of the UNSMIS mission. As the UN Security Council made clear on 20 July the mandate of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria was extended for a final 30 days, with its future dependent on the regime ceasing its use of heavy weapons and a significant reduction in the level of violence. This has not happened. The regime has failed to live up to its commitments to the Annan plan and has further increased its use of heavy weapons, including the use of aircraft. The level of violence in Syria is continuing to increase. This is not an environment in which UNSMIS could work safely and effectively. We pay tribute to the brave work of all the staff who have served with UNSMIS in extremely difficult circumstances.
“Looking ahead, we are committed to supporting the work of the UN in its efforts to contribute to a solution to the crisis in Syria.”