The initial Russian draft resolution made no mention of helicopters but the European version underlined the need for the Syrian government “to agree rapidly” with the U.N. on “the independent use of air assets” by the expanded force.
The final text underlines “the need for the Syrian government and the United Nations to agree rapidly on appropriate air transportation assets for UNSMIS.”
Unlike most resolutions that call for reports to the Security Council in 30 days, the resolution adopted Saturday calls for reports every 15 days.
Araud said this will enable the council to react “if things are going bad,” not only politically and on the ground, but “we are also in charge of the lives of our observers.”
Seven of the advance observers are already on the ground, another two will arrive Monday, and the U.N. hopes to have rest of the advance team of 30 in Syria next week, Annan’s spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told The Associated Press in Geneva.
Members of the advance team are being borrowed from U.N. missions in the region so they can deploy quickly, he said. The U.N. said the observers already in Syria come from Morocco, Brazil, Belgium, Switzerland, Russia and Norway.
The preliminary agreement between Syria and the United Nations on the deployment of U.N. observers says they will have freedom to go anywhere in the country by foot or by car, take pictures, and use technical equipment to monitor compliance with the cease-fire engineered by Annan.
The observers, who report to Annan daily, will have freedom to install temporary observation posts in cities and towns, to monitor military convoys approaching population centers, to investigate any potential violation, and to access detention centers and medical centers in coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross and Syrian authorities, the agreement says.