Annan "shocked" by violence as Syrian regime refuses to withdraw forces

Published April 8th, 2012 - 01:38 GMT

The Free Syrian Army command, the military wing of the opposition to the regime of Bashar al-Assad, refused to provide written guarantees for a cease-fire, the Western media reported Sunday. The Syrian regime said earlier it would not withdraw its forces from towns before obtaining written assurances from the opposition in which the latter would commit to stop the violence.

Last month, the special envoy of the UN and Arab League to Syria, Kofi Annan, said that Damascus accepted the deadline of April 10 to begin implementing his peace plan, which includes an immediate cessation of violence by all parties involved in the conflict and the withdrawal of government troops from cities.

However, Syrian foreign ministry spokesperson, Jihad Makdessi, said it was more of "a misunderstanding" and that before any withdrawal, Damascus was seeking assurances.

Meanwhile, Kofi Annan responded Sunday by saying "he was shocked by (the) rising violence in Syria." He called on the Syrian Government to fulfill its commitments. "As we approach the deadline of Tuesday, April 10, I remind the Syrian government the need to fully respect its commitments and emphasize that the current escalation of violence is unacceptable," Annan said in a statement.

"I am in constant contact with the Syrian government and I urge all states that have an influence on the parties to act now in order to secure the end of the bloodbath and start the dialogue," said the Ghanaian diplomat.

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