UK & World News
UN Boss: Syria Not Complying With Peace Plan
The UN's secretary general says the Syrian government is not complying with an agreed peace plan because it has failed to withdraw heavy weapons and troops from cities and towns.
Ban Ki-Moon's press office said in a statement: "The secretary general remains deeply troubled by the continued presence of heavy weapons, military equipment and army personnel in population centres, as reported by United Nations military observers."
It said Mr Ban considered this a "contravention of the Syrian government's commitments to withdraw its troops and heavy weapons from these areas".
He demanded that President Bashar al Assad's government "comply with its commitments without delay".
Mr Ban was also said to be "gravely alarmed" by reports of continuing shelling of residential areas.
The Syrian government and rebels have traded blame for a huge explosion which reportedly killed 16 people in the city of Hama on Wednesday.
Two UN observers are based in the city.
"He condemns in the strongest terms the continued repression against the Syrian civilian population and violence from any quarter. This situation is unacceptable and must stop immediately," the UN statement continued.
"The secretary general reminds all concerned parties, particularly the government of Syria, of the need to ensure that conditions for the effective operation of the United Nations military observers are put in place immediately, including a sustained cessation of armed violence."
Meanwhile, French foreign minister Alain Juppe has said the ceasefire in Syria is not working and suggested military action may be the next step needed to stop the violence there.
The ceasefire was implemented earlier this month under a peace plan brokered by UN Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.
Fifteen more ceasefire monitors of a total advance team of 30 are expected to be in Syria by Monday and every effort is being made to deploy the full mission of up to 300 observers, a spokesman for Mr Annan said.
Despite the truce, fighting has reportedly continued on a daily basis.
It is estimated that more than 9,000 people have died in Syria during 13 months of fighting sparked by a popular uprising against President Assad.