Both the Syrian regime and the rebel Free Syrian Army have agreed to a peace plan brokered by Kofi Annan, the U.N.-Arab League joint special envoy. A key element of the plan involves a cease-fire by all parties plus the withdrawal of Syrian forces from populated areas.
But there have been continuing reports of attacks and clashes since an April 12 cease-fire went into effect.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the elections would not mean much if they were occurring amid violence. "Only a comprehensive and inclusive political dialogue can lead to a genuine democratic future in Syria," said a representative for Ban in a statement. "These elections are not taking place within that framework. Moreover, a democratic process cannot be successful while violence is still ongoing. It is essential that there be a cessation of violence in all its forms and action to implement the joint special envoy's six-point proposal."
The plan calls for the government to allow humanitarian aid groups access to the population, the release of detainees, initiation of political dialogue and withdrawal of troops from city centers.
Seventy U.N. observers are in Syria, according to the state-run news agency, with more expected next week and 300 expected by the end of the month to monitor the cease-fire and peace plan.