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New batch of observers leave Syria

(Xinhua)

14:54, August 22, 2012

DAMASCUS, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- A total of nine members of the UN Supervision Mission left Syria on Tuesday and headed to the UN headquarters in Lebanon's capital Beirut after most of the mission's members have already left the unrest-ridden country after their mission expired Sunday.

A total of seven of UN SUVs were seen carrying the observers and leaving the heavily guarded Dama-Rose hotel in Damascus on Tuesday.

The UN Supervision Mission in Syria suspended its field trips in June due to escalating violence. Their mandate was extended in July for a final 30 days and a new head for the mission was appointed, but there was no sign the violence was declining, which prompted the UN Security Council to refuse to further extend the mission.

However, it left a civilian office in Damascus to keep a foothold in case the situation gets better.

The rest of the monitors are expected to depart the country by next Friday.

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