Kofi Annan demands end to Syrian violence
Tuesday 10 April 2012
Syrian troops have shelled and raided opposition strongholds nationwide, activists said, prompting an urgent appeal by international envoy Kofi Annan to the Syrian regime to halt violence "without conditions" and give his truce plan a chance.
Syria's foreign minister claimed that regime forces have begun withdrawing from some areas in compliance with Mr Annan's plan, which requires Syrian forces to pull back from towns and villages on Tuesday and both sides to cease all hostilities by 6am on Thursday, local time.
However, activists said Syrian forces carried out new attacks and that there were no signs of a withdrawal.
In a news conference in Hatay, Turkey, Mr Annan insisted that his plan has not failed and that Syria still had time to comply.
"We still have time between now and Thursday 12 to stop violence," he said.
"I appeal to all, the government in the first place (to halt fighting)." He also said that violence must stop without conditions.
Mr Annan said the UN Security Council would take up the issue later today.
The main Syrian opposition group, meanwhile, estimated that some 1,000 people have been killed in escalating regime attacks in the week leading up to the withdrawal deadline, though such figures cannot be verified independently.
France and Britain accused Syria of deception and even Damascus ally Russia seemed critical of Bashar Assad's regime, with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov complaining that Syria's "efforts to implement the plan could have been more active and resolute".
Syrian opposition leaders said they remain committed to the ceasefire brokered by Mr Annan.
The truce is widely seen as the last chance for diplomacy, and its collapse could push Syria even closer to an all-out civil war.
The opposition as well as the US and its allies have been sceptical that the regime would comply with the ceasefire, because it has violated previous agreements and stepped up attacks in recent weeks. At the same time, options for ending the fighting appear to be dwindling with the international community unwilling to intervene militarily.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague accused Damascus of using the ceasefire deadline "as a cover for intensified military efforts to crush Syria's opposition".
French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero dismissed Syria's claims of a withdrawal as "a new expression of this flagrant and unacceptable lie".
Opposition activists said they have seen no signs of a troop withdrawal. "Soldiers are not being withdrawn from towns and villages," said Fadi al-Yassin, an activist in the Idlib province close to Turkey.
"On the contrary, reinforcements are being sent."
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is shot dead
Leonard Nimoy dead: Star Trek actor dies after suffering lung disease
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin, says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Fearne Cotton quits Radio 1 after ten years for 'family and new adventures'
salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...