UN advance team to begin Syria mission this week

An advance UN team preparing the deployment of observers in Syria is expected in Damascus within the next two days, the spokesman for UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan said Tuesday.

"We expect the UN advance team on the deployment of monitors to arrive in Syria in the next 48 hours. They are there to work on the modalities of the deployment of monitors," the spokesman told AFP.

Annan told the UN Security Council on Monday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had accepted an April 10 deadline to start implementing a peace plan and to complete a troop withdrawal by then.

He also said the Council had to consider whether to send an observer mission to monitor events in Syria, where activists say over 10,000 people have been killed in a brutal crackdown against protesters since March 2011.

The observers can be sent only after the Security Council passes a resolution ordering their deployment, and when there is a cessation of violence, the spokesman said.

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