Syrian Violence Kills 36; Arab Leaders Back Peace Plan

Arab leaders prepare to pose for a picture ahead of the opening session of the 23rd Arab League Summit, in Baghdad, Iraq, March 29, 2012.
Arab leaders prepare to pose for a picture ahead of the opening session of the 23rd Arab League Summit, in Baghdad, Iraq, March 29, 2012.

Violence across Syria killed at least 36 people - nearly half of them soldiers - as Arab leaders in Baghdad backed a peace plan during a summit focused on resolving the year-long anti-government revolt.

Syrian state media said Thursday that insurgents kidnapped an Air Force general near Damascus while gunmen shot and killed two army colonels in the northern city of Aleppo. The state news agency SANA blamed the actions on "armed terrorist groups," a reference to army defectors and rebels of the opposition Free Syrian Army.

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.

Rights activists said forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad assaulted opposition hubs in central Syria and the northern province of Idlib Thursday. They said rebels killed two soldiers in an ambush in Hama province.

Meanwhile, Arab leaders at a Baghdad summit endorsed the Syria peace plan drafted by international envoy Kofi Annan and called for its immediate and complete implementation.

The plan urges both sides to start a cease-fire and a dialogue but does not call for Mr. Assad to step down as part of a political transition.

Arab leaders previously had urged the Syrian president to hand power to a deputy to manage the transition, but now they appear to have backed away from that demand.

Mr. Assad said he will "spare no effort" to ensure the success of the Annan plan, but that it would depend on an armed groups stopping their "terrorist actions." He also said countries providing money and weapons to the Syrian opposition must stop immediately to enable Mr. Annan's mission to succeed.

In an apparent reference to Turkey, a former ally that now hosts the rebel FSA, he singled out "neighboring countries that harbor these groups and facilitate their terrorist actions."

In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner called Mr. Assad's remarks "discouraging." He again urged the Syrian president to halt the violence immediately, saying government forces have done nothing to comply with the Annan peace plan in the three days since agreeing to it.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it is "essential" for the Syrian president to put his commitments into immediate effect. Speaking to Arab leaders at the start of the Baghdad summit, Mr. Ban accused the Syrian government of failing to fulfill its responsibility to protect its own people.

Only nine leaders of the Arab League's 22 members traveled to Iraq for the summit. Mr. Assad was not invited. The absence of other leaders reflected ongoing divisions within the Arab League about how to end Syria's violence.

Meanwhile, Britain announced that it will provide $800,000 in non-lethal support to anti-Assad activists inside Syria to help them document government rights violations and develop skills to build a democratic society.

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

Watch related video of Syrian violence

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

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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: nitin singh
April 07, 2012 10:42 AM
god bless peace and harmony in syria

April 02, 2012 4:07 PM

by: Cha Cha Cohen
April 01, 2012 9:02 AM
If the world communities HONESTLY trying to stop killing, why they do not disarm the rebels and ask Asad's army to go to the barrack? I am sure the Syrian will accept that. Lets not have double standards in everywhere in middle east, because they lack intelligence! I only pray the 'so called' leaders' search for peace sincerely!

by: wilkonson
March 30, 2012 5:27 AM
On one hand,the U.S. advocates the principle of "democracy,liberty"and holds high the great banner of “human rights".On the other hand,the U.S. just regards the UN as a puppet,and undertakes "infiltrative,subversive and splittist activities"all over the world.Damn it!

by: Rob Swift
March 30, 2012 1:15 AM
Mr Assad has no chance while married to that daughter of Babylon.
Great Britain Great Babylon . The parallels do not change.

March 29, 2012 10:10 PM
Why has Ban Ki-moon not urged the rebels to lay down their arms and stop attacking, kidnapping and assassinating Syrian officials first? Or the terrorists have the right to kill and the government has not. Ban Ki-moon should step down because of his one-sided view and incapability.

by: changyouqin
March 29, 2012 9:17 PM
Has killed more than 9,000 people

by: MSB
March 29, 2012 6:25 PM

by: roncitrino
March 29, 2012 6:20 PM
In Chicago Illinois blacks shoot 49 other blacks and kill a toddler. Nothing said. A latino male kills a black male in Florida. The whole black political machine runs rampant. Go figure.

by: wavettore
March 29, 2012 6:14 PM
Time for Awakening

Since 9/11 it's the War
on Terror
One "false flag" attack so called
by error
Blair, Bush, and Israel had a
Pact in store
Their next
surprise is knocking at your door
A hidden vile Idea from
those who want "more"
will use you
and your Belief for the next World War
As "chosen
people" gain while Humankind loses
Greed wins not by the
swords but by the words of Moses
Comments page of 2

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