UN Peace Monitors Watch Over Syrian War

May 3, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. monitor (n.) [mon-i-ter] – someone who checks or observes something
Example: Time monitors make sure the workers follow the schedule.

2. ceasefire (n.) 
[sees-fahyuhr] – an agreement to stop fighting temporarily
Example:  Both forces agreed to a ceasefire so they can talk about a peaceful end to the war.

3. mediator (n.) [mee-dee-ey-ter] – one who helps settle conflict between two parties
Example: Teachers must serve as mediators when there are fights between their students.

4. ambush (v.) [am-boosh] – to attack by surprise or without any warning
Example:  Guards prevent the enemy from ambushing the camp.

5. verify (v.) [ver-uh-fahy] – to prove a claim to be true and correct using an evidence
Example: Applicants must present their IDs to verify their identities.

Read the text below.

Last month, United Nations peace monitors arrived in Syria amid civil war and violence that continue in the country despite the government’s promise of a ceasefire.

International mediator Kofi Annan had asked the government for a ceasefire as part of a six-point peace plan for Syria. The plan aims to stop violence in the country caused by fighting between government and rebel armies.

U.N. peace monitors have been assigned to check if the ceasefire is being followed as well as to begin peacekeeping activities.

However, on April 15, bombings started by government troops were reported in the city of Homs, while the first group of peace monitors was entering the country.

The same day, government-controlled TV reported that rebel terrorists had ambushed government soldiers in the province of Idlib.

The Syrian government has so far said all killings are due to “terrorist groups” that wish to take down President Bashar al-Assad from power. But whether the government is telling the truth cannot be verified because international journalists have been denied access to the country.

According to Syrian government TV, the ceasefire from the government’s side has led to more terrorist activity. The report said the government will have to fight back to protect Syrian people.

Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that the government must still commit to its promise of ceasefire.

Around 300 peace monitors will be entering the country to continue the U.N.’s support to end the Syrian conflict. The U.N. estimates that government forces have already killed more than 9,000 people since the violence began last year.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Is war the best solution to end terrorism? Please explain your answer.
·         Can you think of a way how terrorism can be ended in countries like Syria?

Discussion B

·         Why is the United Nations organization important?
·         Should other countries be involved in the conflict happening within one nation? Why or why not?


May 3, 2012