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UN chief still has hopes for Syria progress

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said he is not "underestimating the gravity of the situation" in Syria, but believes there is an opportunity for progress and recommended the Security Council approve a 300-strong UN observer mission.

Mr Moon said in a letter to the council that he will consider developments on the ground, including the consolidation of the ceasefire, before deciding when to deploy the expanded mission, which is larger than the 250 observers initially envisaged.

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Doubt cast on plans to expand team of observers in Syria

Sporadic violence across Syria casts doubt over UN plans to expand a team of observers to the country, US envoy to the UN Susan Rice said.

The US Ambassador said the continued violence, in violation of a ceasefire, was "gravely concerning".

She said:

"Should the violence persist and the ceasefire, or cessation of violence more aptly, not hold, that ... will call into question the wisdom and the viability of sending in the full monitoring presence."

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