News

Amid Fresh Syrian Clashes, Annan Demands Ceasefire

Water spurts out of a broken pipe at a damaged building, next to a damaged vehicle, in the old city of Homs March 30, 2012.
Water spurts out of a broken pipe at a damaged building, next to a damaged vehicle, in the old city of Homs March 30, 2012.

U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan says the Syrian government must immediately implement a cease-fire and stop its attacks on opposition groups, as fresh clashes broke out across the country on Friday.

Annan's spokesperson, Ahmad Fawzi, told reporters in Geneva that the "deadline is now" for President Bashar al-Assad to implement the six-point peace plan drawn up by the former U.N. chief. He did not specify what action, if any, would be taken if Assad did not comply.

Kofi Annan's Six-Point Peace Plan

  • A Syrian-led political process to address the aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people.
  • A U.N. supervised end to armed violence by all parties in Syria.
  • Timely humanitarian assistance in all areas affected by fighting.
  • Increasing the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained people.
  • Ensuring freedom of movement for journalists.
  • Respecting freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully.

Arab leaders at a Baghdad summit on Thursday endorsed the Syria peace plan and called for its immediate implementation.

Assad agreed to the peace plan on Tuesday, but government forces have not shown restraint.

Chatham House Middle East analyst Nadim Shehadi says Assad may have agreed to the peace plan as a stalling tactic.

"It's something that the regime can use to buy time and the regime can always blame the violence on others and the non-implementation on others and can always buy time by slowly implementing or seeming to implement but not really implementing," said Shehadi.

Rights groups say at least 11 people were killed on Friday in clashes between demonstrators and security forces. The groups say the violence erupted as anti-government protests took place in several cities.

Reported deaths in violence across Syria

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and other officials in Riyadh on Friday in a bid to increase pressure on Assad to stop his year-long crackdown on dissent.

On Saturday, Clinton will attend a meeting of regional Gulf diplomats. Clinton will travel to Turkey on Sunday for the second session of the so-called "Friends of Syria" meeting, which will be attended by dozens of nations who support Syrian rebel groups.

The meeting is expected to focus on how to ensure President Assad complies with the peace plan, which calls for a cease-fire, a daily two-hour humanitarian truce, and political dialogue to end the conflict.

Analyst Shehadi says this week's flurry of diplomatic activity may not indicate progress towards a resolution.

"Sometimes one sees a lot of diplomatic activity when people do not know what to do when there is a crisis and there is no clear policy," said Shehadi.

The U.S. tightened economic pressure Friday on Damascus by imposing sanctions on Defense Minister Dawood Rajiha and two other security officials.

The United Nations says violence linked to Syria's crackdown on the revolt has killed more than 9,000 people.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site -
Middle East Voices
. Follow our Middle East reports on
Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: lam
March 30, 2012 5:23 PM
i do not know they do what. more than 9000 people has killed, it is terrible. i see the leader should do what to help them, i hope the situation will be better ih the future. thank you

by: David
March 30, 2012 9:52 AM
Words will not stop thi Hitler! The US demands, and Assad just chuckles, ACT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

by: Fortone
March 30, 2012 9:25 AM
All I can do is chuckle, because there was no way in hell that Assad would play ball with Annan. I sort of feel bad for Kofi Annan somewhat.

by: ROBERT
March 30, 2012 9:20 AM
Anan`s peace plan a big joke or what again plz,or do we see Pres Assad as a wimp who can implement his own regime change to satisfy his foes in the west and their arab stooges? As for Annan they ignored u when they attacked Irag for a regime change and now whos fooling who here unless u forget quickly?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs