embers of the exiled Syrian National Council (SNC), the country's main opposition group, urged the U.N. to send armed peacekeepers after U.N. monitors suspended their mission in the ravaged country on Saturday, citing escalating violence. The monitors were scheduled to be in Syria for one more month, but mission leader Major General Robert Mood spoke of an escalation in fighting and of the risk to his 300-strong U.N. team, as well as a "lack of willingness" for peace by the warring parties. The call from the SNC came as Syrian troops reportedly laid siege to several districts of the central city of Homs on Sunday, a day after violence cost at least 69 lives nationwide.
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