Sunday 15 December 2019

Syrian peace plan 'on track' claims Kofi Annan

A PEACE plan for Syria brokered by UN envoy Kofi Annan is on track despite reports of violations of the ceasefire, his spokesman has claimed.

Mr Annan will brief the United Nations Security Council on the Syria situation next Tuesday by video link from Geneva, he said.

"I would say that the Annan plan is on track and a crisis that has been going on for over a year is not going to be resolved in a day or a week," his spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said.

"I agree with you that there are no big signs of compliance on the ground. There are small signs of compliance."

The comments came amid reports of violence across the country killing at least 10 civilians on Friday.

Three people died when troops opened fire on their vehicle near an intersection in central Hama province, and three others died in the nearby region of Homs, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A couple and their child were killed when they were struck by gunfire in the northern city of Aleppo, the Britain-based watchdog said, adding regime forces killed another civilian in eastern Deir Ezzor province.

Activists in the area said the family was killed by pro-regime gunmen.

Mr Annan's six-point plan includes a ceasefire, deployment of observers and free access for journalists and humanitarian aid.

About 50 observers and civilian staff have been deployed in Syria, but violence has continued since an April 12 truce.

"Some heavy weapons have been withdrawn, some heavy weapons remain. Some violence has receded, some violence remains," Mr Fawzi said. "I'm not saying that is satisfactory".

"There are signs on the ground of movement, albeit its slow and small. There are also signs behind the scenes you don't see because this mediation effort by definition is conducted below the radar," he said.

"However... even on days we feel there is satisfactory progress albeit it is in inches, not in feet or miles, in those days as well we are horrified by the extent of violence that we see on the ground."

The United States said on Tuesday that a new international approach may be needed if Annan's U.N.-backed plan fails, accusing President Bashar al-Assad of making "no effort" to implement it so far.

The violence has killed more than 11,000 people, according to the watchdog.

On Thursday 23 people died, including four students killed when regime troops stormed the campus at Aleppo University, in northern Syria, following anti-regime protests.

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