Minggu, 08 April 2012

Syria wants guarantees not just from the rebels , but also from the Saudis , Qatar and Turkey that they will cease funding rebels groups.... needless to say the Annan proposal is doa....


No troop pullout unless rebels withdraw, Syria says

By News Wires (text)

Syria will not withdraw its forces from rebel hubs as agreed under a UN-backed April 10 ceasefire deal unless it receives "written guarantees" that the opposition will do the same, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

AFP - The Syrian government will not withdraw its forces from Syrian protest hubs without "written guarantees" that the opposition will also lay down its arms, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
"To say that Syria will pull back its forces from towns on April 10 is inaccurate, Kofi Annan having not yet presented written guarantees on the acceptance by armed terrorist groups of a halt to all violence," it said.
"Mr Annan has not submitted written guarantees from the governments of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey on stopping their funding to terrorist groups," the ministry added.
On Thursday the UN Security Council formally endorsed April 10 as the deadline for Syrian troops and big guns to be withdrawn from cities, but Damascus said on Friday the number of "terrorist acts" has risen since the deal was reached with UN and Arab League envoy Annan.
His six-part peace plan foresees the withdrawal of the Syrian army from the cities on Tuesday, with a complete end to fighting 48 hours later.
"Syria is not going to repeat what happened in the presence of Arab observers when armed forces left towns," the ministry statement said.
"Armed terrorist groups reorganised and rearmed to control entire neighbourhoods, committing every possible terrorist act, killing and kidnapping people and destroying public and private property."
It said that during his meeting in Damascus with President Bashar al-Assad, "Annan said his mission was based on respect for Syrian sovereignty."
"He said he would work to stop the violence, disarm armed groups... initiate a comprehensive national dialogue with opposition movements in Syria," the ministry said, adding that "it is this principle on which Syria accepted Annan's mission and his six-point plan."
The ministry also expressed Syria's willingness to cooperate with the envoy.
"Syria is ready to continue cooperating with Mr Annan and we will continue to inform him of the steps we are taking to implement the plan, in the hope of obtaining documented guarantees," it said.



Gunfire from Syria hits border camp in Turkey
Three people injured in reported shooting as UN-brokered ceasefire due to take effect on Tuesday looks shaky.
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2012 11:16

Tension has escalated along the Syrian-Turkey border, with gunfire from Syria injuring at least three people inside Turkey.
Two Syrian refugees and one Turkish translator were wounded in Monday's incident when the Kilis border refugee camp in Gaziantep province came under fire from the Syrian side of the border, a Turkish foreign ministry official said.
Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught, reporting from Antakya in southern Turkey, said the incident signifies "a remarkable escalation in tensions on this already tense cross-border area".

The incident occurred as reports indicated that Syrian government forces were trying to prevent refugees from entering Turkey.
Thousands of Syrians are sheltering in eight refugee camps set up in Turkey's southern provinces of Hatay and Gaziantep, while others have crossed into Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.
Syrian rebels reject fresh government demands
Against this backdrop, a UN-brokered ceasefire agreement that is due to come into force on Tuesday is looking shaky after Bashar al-Assad’s government raised new, last-minute demands that were rejected by the country’s armed opposition.
Under the deal, brokered by Kofi Annan, the UN-Arab League special envoy, the Syrian army is scheduled to withdraw from protest cities on Tuesday, with a complete end to fighting set for 48 hours later.
But Syria has since said it would only carry out its side of the bargain if the rebels first handed over written guarantees to stop fighting, a demand rejected by the leader of the largest armed opposition group, the Free Syria Army (FSA).
China has urged Syria to stick to its earlier pledge to stop fighting and start pulling back its troops, while also calling on the opposition to honour its commitments.
'Criminal gang'
Colonel Riad al-Asaad said the FSA was committed to the peace plan but would give guarantees only to the international community and not the Syrian government.
"It is not a regime that is ruling the country. It's a criminal gang. So we will not give guarantees to it," Asaad told Al Jazeera just hours after the government issued its demand on Sunday.
Asaad said that if the Syrian government abided by Annan's six-point plan to end the violence, the FSA would hold its fire. He demanded that the government withdraw its forces to bases and remove checkpoints from the streets.
Last week, Assad accepted the ceasefire agreement calling for government forces to withdraw from towns and villages by Tuesday, and for the government and opposition fighters to lay down their arms by 6am local time on Thursday.
But in a statement released on Sunday and reported by the Associated Press news agency, Jihad Makdissi, Syria's foreign ministry spokesperson, said earlier reports that the government would pull its troops from cities and their suburbs by Tuesday were "wrong".
Makdissi said that Annan had failed so far to submit to the Syrian government "written guarantees regarding the acceptance of armed terrorist groups to halt violence with all its forms and their readiness to lay down weapons".
For his part, Annan urged Syria's government to fully implement its commitment to the ceasefire, and he condemned "a surge in violence and atrocities" that is occurring there.
He said in a statement on Sunday that the fighting is causing "alarming levels of casualties, refugees and displaced persons" and that it must stop.
The truce is meant to pave the way for negotiations between the government and the opposition over Syria's political future.
However, activists say Syrian troops are continuing their assault on flashpoint regions.
Idlib shelled
Forces loyal to President Assad shelled an area in the province of Idlib near the border with Turkey leaving dozens dead or injured, opposition activists said on Sunday.
Around 90 tanks and armoured vehicles, backed by helicopters, bombarded the al-Rouge Plain, southwest of Idlib city, the provincial capital, Reuters news agency reported quoting activists inside Syria and on the border with Turkey.
The activists further said fighters from the FSA were surrounded in al-Bashiriya, one of about 40 villages in the plain.
The Syrian National Council, as the main opposition umbrella group is known, called on Sunday for UN intervention after monitoring groups said 86 of those killed on Saturday were civilians.
Towns north of Aleppo have endured days of clashes and bombardment, prompting 3,000 civilians to flee over the Turkish border on Friday alone, about 10 times the daily number before Assad accepted Annan's plan 10 days ago.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, said on Saturday the number of refugees entering Turkey was rising.
"At the moment, we have 24,000 Syrians who have entered Turkey. Of course, this number is rising," Erdogan said before departing on a trip to China.
"We are taking measures for this, though we will not close the gates. The United Nations, however, has to toughen its stance," he said.
"In particular, Kofi Annan has to hold firm. He announced a deadline of April 10. I believe that he should monitor the situation very closely."
The UN estimates that at least 9,000 people have been killed in Syria since the crisis began 13 months ago.

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