Turkey says not asked to provide troops for UN Syria mission
The statement was made by a Turkish official speaking on condition of anonymity, private NTV television reported. It came after a spokesman for the UN-Arab League envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan, said that UN member states were being asked to provide troops to a ceasefire monitoring mission, to be deployed in Syria after April 10.
Spokesman Ahmad Fawzi also said an advance team sent by Annan was due to arrive in Damascus on Thursday to begin discussing their deployment, which requires a UN Security Council resolution.
A UN peacekeeping official, Norwegian Army former Chief of Staff Major-General Robert Mood, is due to head to Damascus to seek President Bashar al-Assad's agreement for UN observers. Reuters said the UN mission will consist of 250 unarmed observers.
On his visit to Syria, Mood, 54, was to examine prospects for UN observers to assess whether troops and insurgents respect the truce due to take effect by next Thursday under a peace plan drafted by Annan.
Mood has experience of armed UN peacekeeping operations in Kosovo where around 60,000 troops were deployed in 1999 after a ceasefire and army withdrawal agreement were already in place.
Annan's plan calls for Syrian troops to pull back from towns and cities ahead of a ceasefire with rebels under an "effective United Nations supervision mechanism". An "inclusive, Syrian-led political process" would follow.