THE head of the United Nations monitoring mission in Syria saw the bombed-out wreckage of the city of Homs for the first time yesterday, but declared that he had the chance to "break the cycle of violence" in the country.
As he toured Khalidiya, one of the worst-hit areas of fighting in the city, the sound of gunfire could be heard from nearby, as it is most days. The city is one of the few that still contains no-go zones for the Syrian army.
But Major-General Robert Mood, the Norwegian peacekeeper who arrived at the weekend to supervise the work of the monitors of the Kofi Annan peace plan, said that their numbers would soon double from the current 50 and that they were already having a "calming effect".
Earlier he had toured Hama, also the scene of heavy fighting and shelling.
An activist said his visit had been preceded by a night of shelling by regime forces. (© Daily Telegraph, London)