Kofi Annan arrives in Syria today on a mission to push the regime to end its bloody crackdown on dissent and hold talks with the opposition, but before the former UN secretary-general even touched down in Damascus, activists rejected his call for dialogue with President Bashar al-Assad.
Opposition leaders described Mr Annan's plan for a political solution to the conflict as "disappointing" after the year-long military crackdown that has killed at least 7,500 people.
The rejection of negotiations dealt a blow to efforts that might have saved Syria from a full-blown civil war, but the opposition was adamant the time for talks was over and that military might was the only way to force Assad from power.
"These kind of comments are disappointing and do not give a lot of hope for people in Syria being massacred every day," said Burhan Ghalioun, leader of the Syrian National Council (SNC), an umbrella group of opposition activists, referring to Mr Annan's plan for a negotiated peace.
Ahead of Mr Annan's visit, at least 62 people were killed yesterday around Syria, according to the Local Co-ordination Committees.
There has been relative calm in the besieged city of Homs, but Syrian military forces loyal to the regime launched new attacks there yesterday, using tanks and mortars to shell the city. (© Independent News Service)