BEIRUT (AP) -- The chief of U.N. observers in Syria says the mission is suspending its activities and patrols because of escalating violence in the country.
Maj. Gen. Robert Mood said in a statement Saturday that the bloodshed is posing significant risks to the observers and is impeding their ability to carry out their mandate.
He says the observers will not be conducting patrols and will stay in their locations in the country "until further notice." The suspension will be reviewed on a daily basis.
The suspension is the latest sign that a peace plan brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan is disintegrating. The regime and the opposition have both ignored the cease-fire, which was supposed to go into effect April 12.
Meanwhile, government troops kept up their relentless shelling of rebel-held districts in the central city of Homs Saturday, killing at least five. Another 12, including a man, his wife and child, were killed in overnight shelling of suburbs of the capital Damascus.