Red Cross hopeful of daily truce as Annan experts arrive in Damascus

Published March 19th, 2012 - 03:53 GMT
Syrian refugees
Syrian refugees

The head of the International Red Cross, Jakob Kellenberger, said on Monday he had received in Moscow "positive indications of support" to his request for a truce of two hours daily, during his meeting with the foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

An assessment mission of humanitarian aid to Syria, formed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the UN is already there and works under the supervision of the regime. It was in Homs and plans to go to a dozen provinces.

In a statement, the OIC and the UN have called "the people and the authorities in Syria to respect the neutrality and impartiality" of their mission which they described as "strictly non-political".

This is the first time that the UN is permitted by the regime to make such an assessment since the beginning of the revolt over a year ago .

In makeshift hospitals, doctors say they "miss everything."

On the ground, the violence continues. In Deir Ezzor, clashes reported between regime forces and deserters a day after 30 people died, including 25 deserters and dozens injured.

The government army and security forces continued their operations in many other provinces, after taking control of several rebel strongholds in recent weeks. A civilian was shot dead by a sniper in the province of Idleb, near the Turkish border, where nearly 16,500 Syrians took refuge, including two generals who defected Friday, according to Ankara.

Meanwhile, the five experts appointed by the UN and the Arab League envoy, Kofi Annan, arrived in Damascus to negotiate the establishment of an observation mission in order to stop "killing". "The mission has arrived," said the spokesman for Mr. Annan, Ahmad Fawzi, adding that the next "Mr. Annan's visit to Syria will depend largely on progress" in discussions by the experts.

Annan said the mission "would continue discussions on the proposals" that he made to President Assad during his visit on 10th and 11th of March. 

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