The United Nations Security Council has announced that its military observer mission in Syria has ended, just a few days ahead of the mandate’s expiry date.

Continued violence across Syria has made it almost impossible for the mission to remain.

In its place, the UN will establish a small civilian liaison office to keep political contacts with Syrian figures.

"The conditions to continue [the mission] were not filled," France's UN ambassador Gerard Araud said after a meeting of the Security Council.

Earlier, Russia (a stalwart ally of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad) warned the UN that withdrawing its mission there would pose "serious negative consequences" for the war-torn country.