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2012.08.28 14:15

UN observer in Syria shares his experience with Lithuanian journalists

2012.08.28 14:15

Major Andrius Smilga came back to Lithuania following the expiry of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria. He shares his experience with Lithuanian journalists.  

Major Andrius Smilga came back to Lithuania following the expiry of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria. He shares his experience with Lithuanian journalists.

Smilga spent 2 months in Syria on a monitoring mission of a ceasefire in Homs. Although Smilga has participated in other UN missions as well, he says his operation was most dangerous in his career. A threat was felt everywhere, even at the hotel he stayed.

Video material that was submitted to European Broadcasting Union:

Shotlist: Observer's footage of Homs, Syria

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

Andrius Smilga, Member of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria:

When you go on patrol you see that on one side of the street there is a shelling and Syrian forces do not let us there, while on the other - a normal life goes on. Like everywhere else, people there are buying food and doing shopping. For protection from shelling, they hide in their baths, but in any case they won’t leave their homes.

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

Andrius Smilga, Member of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria:

Well I can say that people have their own priorities, irrespective of who is responsible for the attacks. Some of them prefer President Assad, while others, maybe or maybe not, believe that opposition is going to liberate them. So you can’t say that everyone supports one side.

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

Andrius Smilga, Member of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria:

Missiles would explode even above the hotel, at some 200 meters height. So there always is a threat. When you leave for patrol, you aren’t sure of what awaits you. 15 United Nations vehicles were wrecked in shelling during a month. But thank God, I think none of the 300 observers has suffered injuries.

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

Andrius Smilga, Member of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria:

This is my personal opinion, but I think Syrian people have to solve this conflict among them. To my mind, any third force will not be of help.

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