More violence as Syria deadline looms
While the deadline set in the peace plan of the International envoy Kofi Annan to the Syrian regime to withdraw its forces expires Tuesday (midnight local time), Syria was the scene of growing violence that killed nearly 300 people in three days.
According to the plan, today the regime has to start the withdrawal of army tanks, but Syrian forces loyal to President Assad bombed Mareh, a town in the province of Aleppo, said Rami Abdel Rahman, president of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), adding that no withdrawal of Syrian forces has been observed so far.
"Since the morning, Mareh is violently bombarded by tanks and heavy machine guns," confirmed militant Abu Omar, who is in the vicinity of the towns. "Columns of smoke are visible and families fleeing the city," added the activist reached by Skype.
Syrian tanks also opened fire Tuesday morning in the center of the city of Hama, according Manhal Abu Bakr, an activist in this city. Tanks were also deployed Tuesday morning in Douma, on the outskirts of Damascus, said another activist.
According to the Annan plan, the army must withdraw from cities by Tuesday to allow a complete cease-fire 48 hours later. The regime of Bashar al-Assad had accepted the plan, but later demanded written guarantees by the rebels.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday night contacted the Syrian regime demanding to stop its attacks against civilians, as 105 people, mostly civilians were killed Monday.
Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem is scheduled to meet Tuesday with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to discuss the "development of the difficult situation in Syria." The Annan plan should be on the top of the agenda. In its Tuesday edition, the daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta said that "Damascus will lose (the support of) Moscow" if the Syrian regime does not respect its commitments. "The failure of the Annan plan could be costly for Bashar Assad," its said.