UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- The U.N. Security Council Thursday decided to end its observer mission in Syria, Gerard Araud, France's ambassador to the United Nations, said.
Araud, the president of the Security Council, announced the decision three days before the mission's mandate was set to expire, The New York Times reported. He also said the council approved Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's request to maintain a smaller U.N. liaison office in Syria.
Escalating violence between rebels and the regime of President Bashar Assad has rendered diplomatic efforts to end the violence nearly useless, with the observer staff holed up for months in a Damascus hotel, the newspaper said.
The observer mission was created by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his role as special envoy for the U.N. and the Arab League. Annan resigned from that position two weeks ago.