Violence Worsening in
in Spite of Pledge, UN Says Syria
Thursday, 05 April 2012 14:12
Beirut, Lebanon - Spasms of fierce new fighting, some just miles from Syria's capital, were reported on Thursday, and the leader of the United Nations said the conflict was getting worse — contradicting assurances by the Syrian government to a special diplomatic envoy that it was complying with his cease-fire plan.
The violence came as the Security Council issued a statement requesting
Mr. Assad, who regards the opposition as terrorist gangs financed by
The Security Council issued the statement as the special diplomatic envoy, Kofi Annan, appointed by the United Nations and Arab League to broker a halt to the Syrian conflict, briefed the General Assembly by videoconference from
But the grimness of Mr. Annan's mission was underscored by Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the United Nations, who spoke to the General Assembly ahead of the briefing. "Despite the Syrian government's acceptance of the joint special envoy's plan of initial proposals to resolve the crisis, the violence and assaults in civilian areas have not stopped," Mr. Ban said. "The situation on the ground continues to deteriorate."
The latest outbreaks of violence came a day after
Activist groups on Thursday reported clashes in the north and south of the country, as Turkish officials spoke of a surge in the number of Syrian refugees fleeing across the border into their country. News reports put the number arriving in
Under the terms of Mr. Annan's plan, the Syrian forces committed to an April 10 deadline to withdraw troops and heavy weapons from major population centers, to be followed by a 48-hour period in which all combatants from both sides would cease all violence.
Mr. Annan's spokesman said in
"We expect them to continue and to abide by he pledges they have made," Mr. Fawzi told reporters in
Many Western politicians remained skeptical of Mr. Assad's intentions and the continued fighting seemed to deepen their doubts.
"Can we be optimistic or not?" the French foreign minister, Alain Juppé, said to reporters in
Activist Web sites on Wednesday accused the Syrian military of shelling and shooting at targets mostly in and around the cities of Idlib,
On Thursday, the group said government forces attacked several towns across the country, including two — Hraytan and Anadan — near the northern city of
Reuters quoted activists as saying columns of smoke rose from several buildings in Douma, just eight miles from
Anne Barnard reported from Beirut, Lebanon, Rick Gladstone from
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