Annan: Assad must act now
The international mediator Kofi Annan, who met Tuesday with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, asked him to "take bold steps now" to stop the violence, citing a "turning point" after the massacre of Hula. However, the violence on Tuesday left 98 deaths, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), who reported a new massacre of 13 civilians in Deir Ezzor.
Sign of a tougher Western stance towards Damascus was seen Tuesday as the main European countries, the United States, Canada and Australia, have announced the parallel expulsion of Syrian diplomatic representatives from their capital in retaliation for the killings.
"We need the president (Assad) to act now, and for others to do their bit," Annan said at a press conference after his meeting with Mr. Assad in Damascus. "I called him to take bold steps now - not tomorrow, now - to create the conditions necessary for the implementation of the plan" to end the crisis, he stressed. "We are at a turning point," the ex-UN chief added, arguing that "the international community would immediately review the situation."
"The government and its could stop all military operations, said the UN and the Arab League envoy.
The international envoy, who also met with representatives of the opposition, called "the armed opposition to stop the violence".