Head of the UN advance observer team to Syria denied that his team came under fire in one of the hotspot suburbs of Syria's capital Damascus on Wednesday.
U.N. observers leave the Sheraton Hotel in Damascus, Syria, on April 18, 2012. The seven-man team, according to International envoy Kofi Annan's spokesman, arrived in Damascus late Sunday to monitor Syria's 4-day-old cease-fire. [Xinhua]
Speaking to reporters after finishing a tour in the Damascus suburb of Arbeen, Moroccan Col. Ahmed Himmiche said that his team didn't come under fire there, but he refused to confirm whether there was any gunshot at all.
A pro-government news website said gunmen threw a grenade at law-enforcement forces in Arbeen during the tour of UN observers, injuring a brigadier general.
However, the opposition Local Coordination Committees said Syrian troops fired at demonstrators in Arbeen when the UN observers were in the area.
Meanwhile, Himmiche reiterated that his mission is to establish liaison with the Syrian authorities and other parties.
"We are going to do our best to accomplish our mission and our task," he said, adding that "in order to establish this liaison, we need time and trust... we need to build confidence with all the parties in order to achieve our task."
On Tuesday, the UN team visited Syria's southern province of Daraa, which is the birthplace of the domestic unrest in Syria.
Earlier in the day, Himmiche said the number of observers is now seven and would reach 30 within a couple of days. He said that his mission is "technical," and that their work is moving on " normally so far."
The advance team of UN observers arrived in Damascus on Sunday night to monitor the implementation of a cease-fire which was brokered by the UN-Arab League joint special envoy Kofi Annan and went into effect last Thursday.
Their arrival came a day after the UN Security Council unanimously approved the observer mission. The advance team will be followed by other batches of observers and the total number of monitors may eventually reach 250.