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Observer mission in Syria begins to unravel, pushing forward UN option

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On Jan. 10, observer Anwar Malek told Al Jazeera TV that he had quit the mission. Another, who insisted on remaining anonymous, told Reuters yesterday that he was "ready to walk out."

Asked if he agreed with Malek's characterization of the mission as a failure, the monitor said: "It is true, it is true. Even I am trying to leave on Friday. I'm going to Cairo or elsewhere... because the mission is unclear.... It does not serve the citizens. It does not serve anything."

"The Syrian authorities have exploited the weakness in the performance of the delegation to not respond. There is no real response on the ground."

"The military gear is still present even in the mosques. We asked that military equipment be withdrawn from the Abu Bakr al-Siddiq mosque in Deraa and until today they have not withdrawn."

A UN official told the Security Council earlier this week that an estimated 400 people had been killed in Syria since the mission arrived, BBC reports. The US representative to the UN, Susan Rice, said the figure showed an acceleration in the killing of demonstrators. According to the UN, more than 5,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March.

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