Syrian Forces Hit Rebellious Areas Before Truce

Joint Special Envoy for Syria Kofi Annan (L) speaks with Major-General Robert Mood of Norway during a meeting at the United Nations in Geneva, April 4, 2012.
Joint Special Envoy for Syria Kofi Annan (L) speaks with Major-General Robert Mood of Norway during a meeting at the United Nations in Geneva, April 4, 2012.

Syrian forces have launched fresh military operations in several regions ahead of an April 10 deadline for the government to implement a peace plan brokered by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.

Activists say heavy shelling rocked the central city of Homs, the site of massive anti-government protests.

Rights groups and activists say at least 50 people were killed across Syria on Wednesday as a result of shelling and clashes between pro- and anti-government forces.

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The peace plan requires government forces to withdraw from towns and cities and observe a cease-fire.  Rebel fighters are to immediately follow by ceasing all violence.

Also Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Western and Arab nations against arming Syrian rebels.  Speaking on a trip to Azerbaijan, Lavrov said "even if the Syrian opposition is armed to the teeth, it will not be able to defeat the Syrian army and the carnage will go on for years."

Lavrov also said a foreign military intervention would lead to even more disastrous consequences for Syria, which has seen a yearlong uprising against President Bashar al-Assad that has killed more than 9,000 people.

Reported deaths in violence across Syria

On Thursday, Annan is to address the U.N. General Assembly on the situation in Syria.

Middle East analyst Christopher Phillips said the government crackdown will likely to continue until April 10.

"Given the regime has taken a largely militaristic approach to this uprising, you suspect their intention is to continue to oppress and be relatively violent right up to the 10th deadline as a means to crush the opposition as best it can before that deadline comes about," Phillips said.

Phillips, an international relations lecturer at the University of London, said it is doubtful that Syria will uphold the provisions of Annan's peace plan.

"It's highly unlikely that he ((Assad)) will abide by the terms entirely.  I think this regime has decided a long time ago that its best route for survival is the military option.  Its acceptance of this plan appears to be a play for time as they have done in the past with other plans such as the Arab League plan," he said.

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

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Comment Sorting
by: Mike
April 04, 2012 3:20 PM
The Syrian dictatorship has been given a "green light" to do what ever it wants to do to remain in power, and it is. Are you surprised? Dictators never yield power voluntarily. The EU should get ready to accept the refugees.

by: Tony Wicher
April 04, 2012 3:08 PM
This whole "rebellion" has been financed and armed by NATO all along. Most of the deaths are of Syrian soldiers and civilians killed by NATO death squads led by veteran Al Qaeda killers like Belhadj. Al Qaeda is the CIA's foreign legion.

by: Wim Roffel
April 04, 2012 1:34 PM
"the regime has taken a largely militaristic approach to this uprising"
Not true. Until January the main approach was containment. Only when an opposition offensive led it into the outskirts of Damascus did Assad see no other option than a full counterattack.
Shortly after the start of the uprising the regime released many political prisoners and changed the constitution. Unlike the opposition Assad has also always been prepared to negotiate.

by: rajab khan
April 04, 2012 11:33 AM
I appreciate this operation it is legal for Assad
this is it no country has the right to say a world.

by: William Hague
April 04, 2012 9:00 AM
"The Syrian authorities have said they will do that (withdraw Syrian troops from Syrian cities) by April 10," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in London. "There is no sign of them doing it so far. Attacks on the citizens, the civilians of their country have continued, the murder, oppression, and torture of the regime has continued..."

by: cherine
April 04, 2012 5:24 AM
Syria is not a Shi'ite rulled government.

It is Alawite...ah but of course "voice of america" wouldn't know that because the voice it hears correctly is that of its masters in Israel.

by: Godwin
April 04, 2012 5:23 AM
Did i read that Saudi Arabia is willing to arm the Syrian Opposition to overthrow the Assad regime? Between Syria and Saudi Arabia which country is better in terms of observing human rights? I guess women can drive a car in Syria.

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