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Syria’s Main Opposition Alliance Still Pins Hopes on Annan’s Peace Plan

Bassma Kodmani, spokeswoman for the Syrian National Council (SNC), April 10, 2012.
Bassma Kodmani, spokeswoman for the Syrian National Council (SNC), April 10, 2012.
Lisa Schlein

Representatives of Syria’s main opposition alliance say they are still willing to give a peace plan proposed by international envoy Kofi Annan a chance to work.  But they say they will explore other options if diplomatic efforts to end the Syrian crisis fail.

Representatives of the Syrian National Council say they are distressed, but not surprised, by what they say is the increased violence and brutality of Syria's government against civilians.  

They say the government sharply escalated its attacks against the civilian population in the week leading up to the April 10 deadline for Syrian forces to withdraw heavy weapons from towns and cities.  They say more than 1,000 people were killed in that period.  This figure cannot be independently verified.

But the opposition group says it is still willing to give the Annan peace plan a chance.  SNC spokeswoman Basma Kodmani says another important deadline is Thursday, April 12.  This is when the peace plan specifies the warring parties must cease all hostilities.  

“In spite of the difficulties that we are facing ... we think that the Annan mission can continue to work with the regime and with international powers to get a U.N. mission, a monitoring mission of observers, on the ground,” Kodmani said.  

Tuesday in Moscow, Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said his government had begun to fulfill Mr. Annan's plan to end the violence.

Kodmani says if the Annan mission fails, no option should be dismissed.  She says the rebels' Free Syrian Army hopes the U.N. Security Council will pass a resolution with teeth.  She urges the council to invoke Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which allows the Security Council to take military and non-military action to restore international peace and security.

“If this remains not accessible - that depends very much on the position of Russia and China.  We very much hope they will cooperate this time because every attempt at a solution that requires the cooperation of the regime is leading to hundreds and thousands more deaths,” Kodmani said.  

In the meantime, the opposition spokeswoman says the Syrian National Council is still pinning its hopes on the Annan mission.  She says the mission has strong legitimacy and the support of all members of the Security Council, and should be given every chance to succeed.

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