Despite accepting UN plan, Syrian army continues raids
The Syrian army has intensified its operations against the rebels across the country, violating the provisions of the peace plan presented by UN and Arab envoy Kofi Annan, according to the US. It is "clear" that the Syrian president did not take "necessary measures" to implement the plan of the international envoy Kofi Annan, as he had promised, said Wednesday the U.S. State Department, calling to "maintain pressure" on Bashar al-Assad.
Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has warned President Bashar al-Assad that "there is enough evidence" to prosecute against him for crimes against humanity, given the "appalling" actions committed by his army. The UN chief Ban Ki-moon called on Damascus to apply "immediately" the plan which is including the cessation of violence by all parties, the provision of humanitarian aid and the release of detainees.
On its part, the Syrian regime, which has accepted Annan's plan warned, however, that it would reject any new initiative from the Arab summit which is being held in Baghdad on Thursday. "Since the suspension of the Arab League, Syria deals with member states of this organization on a bilateral basis. Syria rejects therefore any initiative by the Arab League," said the spokesman of the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jihad Makdessi.
The Syrian crisis was the focus of the meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Baghdad, which began drafting a final resolution calling the regime and Syrian opposition to open dialogue.
The declaration by Damascus of the acceptance of the plan proposed by Annan aroused skepticism within the international community. This decision is "an important initial step" noted Ban Ki-moon, while stressing that "there is no time to lose."
"We demand the full implementation of the peace plan (...) starting with the immediate cessation of repression," said French Foreign Ministry.
Syria has not publicly announced its acceptance of the Annan plan, approved by the UN Security Council, but the government wrote to Annan it accepts his plan, said Tuesday his spokesman.
This did not stop Syrian tanks from storming al-Qalaa Madiq, city center which is under siege for two weeks. Heavy fighting broke out there between the government forces and rebel groups, killing at least 13 people, including four civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
Clashes also shook the provinces of Homs (center), Deraa (south) and Idleb (northwest). In total, 21 people died in violence across the country Wednesday.
"President Assad could simply order the cessation of violence, and they would stop. This is the kind of things that the judges in cases of crimes against humanity will consider a responsibility of the army's leader," said Navi Pillay, in an interview broadcast Wednesday by the BBC. "People like him can continue for very long time, but one day they must face justice," warned the UN official for human rights.