By Li Hongmei, Special to Sina English
Let's first comb through what has become of the war-torn Syria in a recent couple of days, and when the UN mission expires there, and see what it could be like in a Syria without observers.
Fierce fighting underway in Aleppo
Fierce fighting is underway in the center of Syrian Aleppo. A Japanese woman journalist has sustained severe injuries.
In the south of the city helicopters have attacked rebel positions. Skirmishes can be heard in the center of Aleppo.
The flow of refugees is heading for safer western areas of the city, as military operations continue in the suburbs of Damascus, as well as on the Jordanian-Syrian border.
According to Agence France Presse around 100 people were killed in Syria on Monday.
Syrian Christians under rebel siege
According to television reports in Lebanon, all 12,000 or so residents of the Christian-populated Syrian village of Rabla in Homs Province are under watertight siege by anti-government rebels.
After 10 days of siege, the people have run out of supplies but cannot leave for fear of being machine-gunned.
Many analysts fear that the Syrian conflict may result in a bloody communal mess involving the governing Alawites, the majority Sunnis, the Christians and the Kurdish community.
Russia: Inadmissible to smuggle arms to Syria
Moscow has again declared the inadmissibility of arms smuggling to Syria. This is contained in a Russian Foreign Ministry comment on its website.
The diplomats note that recently the media has been citing instances when weapons are transferred to the Syrian opposition via the territory of Libya, Turkey and Lebanon.
"Recently Swiss television aired a feature on the Syrian opposition using hand grenades manufactured in Switzerland. There is also information about deliveries of anti-tank grenade launchers and portable air-defense units from Libyan territory to the rebels," said the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The diplomats stressed that the weapons are particularly dangerous when falling into the hands of Syrian militants linked to international terrorist and extremist networks.
Obama voices conditions for U.S. invasion of Syria
The U.S. military could intervene in events in Syria, should there be a threat of use of chemical or biological weapons there. This was announced Monday by U.S. President Barack Obama at a news conference in Washington.
Obama stressed that for the present he has not issued any orders to that effect.
"However, if we see that chemical weapons are being transported somewhere, or used, then we will consider it as crossing the threshold," said the U.S. leader.
In his opinion, the use of weapons of mass destruction by Damascus could lead to the conflict spilling over to the rest of the region, including U.S. allies, such as Israel.
Earlier, Washington did not rule out the possibility of military intervention in the intra-Syrian conflict.
What if Syria without observers?
The UN observers are leaving Syria. The mandate of the UN observer mission in Syria expired on August 19th. The last group of observers will leave Syria on August 24th . According to media reports, the situation in and around Syria is more and more resembling preparations for a large-scale war.
In April international observers began to monitor the events in Syria and the implementation of the peaceful settlement plan there. However, last month, the number of the UN observer mission in Syria was reduced by 2 times - from 300 to 150 people.
In the middle of this month the UN Security Council decided not to extend the mission’s mandate, motivating this by the impossibility to ensure the security of its personnel.
The tension is subsiding neither in nor around Syria. The UN mission is somewhat regarded as a source of receiving objective information about the situation in the country. Neither the Western nor the Arab media gave such information. The UN observers visited the scenes of the armed clashes. Without this data Assad’s regime will be shown in a more unfavorable light than it is, an expert on Middle-east Strategic Studies says:
"An information war is always aimed at depicting an object as fiend especially if the task of eliminating it is set. I believe that Syria’s President and his supporters will be accused of deadly sins more than once. Actually, this is exactly what is happening now because it’s constantly being reported about the possibility of using chemical weapons by the Syrian regime. We have already seen something like that when the issue of the U.S. aggression against Iraq was put on the agenda in 2003. There may be a repeat."
The UN coordination bureau will replace the UN observer mission in Damascus. However, experts are not sure whether the new centre will be able to check the incoming information.