Update: for more on the helicopters, here.
The situation in Syria continues to move toward a full-scale civil war, with the Assad regime, as part of its ongoing brutality, deploying helicopter gunships (now allegedly being sent by Russia) and apparently using children as human shields, while the opposition fights back with arms probably supplied by Saudi Arabia and/or other Gulf states. The pointlessness of having unarmed UN observers in this situation is becoming glaringly obvious. There is currently no ceasefire to observe, and whatever slim benefit may derive from the presence of observers is outweighed by the real possibility that the observers themselves will become targets and will be injured or killed. Moreover, keeping observers on the ground in this situation, it seems to me, not only endangers the observers themselves but plays into the hands of those who have an ideological or political interest in portraying the UN as feckless and weak. It's one thing to be unable to solve a problem; it's another to publicize and emphasize your inability to solve a problem by, in effect, standing on a rooftop and shrieking: "I am unable to solve this problem!!" That is the only message the presence of UN observers in Syria seems to be conveying right now.