Meet the man with one of the most difficult jobs in the world

The Chief of the U.N. Supervision Mission to Syria, Norwegian Major General Robert Mood looks arrives at Damascus airport Photo: Reuters

He arrived in an immaculately smart uniform to observe an immensely dirty war.

Few would envy him - he has been handed one of the most difficult jobs in the world.

Major General Robert Mood is the man tasked with leading the mission to observe a ceasefire in Syria.

His problem is simple.

There is no ceasefire to observe.

His monitors are already running around Syria listening to a cacophony of gunfire and explosions, caused by both sides inSyria's bitter civil war.

Joint Special Envoy for Syria Annan speaks with Major-General Mood of Norway during a meeting at the UN in Geneva. Credit: Reuters

There are so many violations of the ceasefire that even if he has a thousand men he couldn't keep up with the incidents.

He doesn't have a thousand.

He has thirty.

But, he assured me, another thirty will be arriving in the next few days. That's to cover a country of more than twenty million people.

He bristled at my suggestion that the mission is already in trouble. "It's very much alive," he said, displaying all the optimism of a veteran peacekeeper.

"Thirty unarmed soldiers can have a powerful calming effect," he claimed.

The world will wish him and his unarmed comrades all the best in their tough mission.

"I fell in love with Syria a long time ago," said the General.

His problem is that Syria and the regime, which never wanted him here in the first place, may not be in love with him. Or his mission.

Not for a moment, however smart his uniform.

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