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September 26, 2017

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Syria violence kills 23 despite UN-monitored 'truce'

The United Nations now has 30 truce monitors in Syria, a nation of 23 million people, and expects to have 20 more of the planned 300-strong mission on the ground by the end of the week.

Their commander, Norway's Major General Robert Mood, has acknowledged his mission could not solve Syria's fundamental problems, but said the security crisis was not insoluble.

"We have seen this in many crises before that if you simply keep adding to the violence with more bombs and weapons and more violence, it becomes a circle that is almost impossible to break," he told BBC radio. "We are not in that situation."

Western governments have lost patience with Assad, accusing him of breaking promises made to U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan that he would order troops and tanks back to barracks.

Paris has called for U.N. sanctions against Damascus, but the West can do little given the diplomatic cover Syria enjoys at the Security Council from China and Russia. Moscow says the rebels are mainly to blame for the continued violence.

Western states are wary of military intervention along the lines of last year's anti-Gadhafi air campaign in Libya because of the political, diplomatic and military complexities of tackling Syria, as well as the potential repercussions on a volatile Middle Eastern neighborhood.

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