Annan starts talks with Assad

2012-07-09 11:02

Beirut - Kofi Annan was holding talks in Damascus on Monday with Syrian President Bashar Assad, who said US political support for "terrorists" was hindering the peace envoy's plan to end 16 months of bloodshed.

Assad also accused Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey of supplying the rebels trying to overthrow him with arms and other logistical support.

"We know that [Annan] is coming up against countless obstacles but his plan should not be allowed to fail, it is a very good plan," Assad told German television channel Das Erste.

"The biggest obstacle is that many countries do not even want this plan to succeed so they offer political support and continue to provide the terrorists in Syria with arms and money," Assad said, according to a transcript in German of the interview conducted in English on 5 July.

Anti-Assad activists in Syria reported army shelling and clashes with rebels on Monday in Deir Ezzor, Deraa, Homs, Aleppo and a neighbourhood of Damascus. Residents also reported the sound of gunfire in the capital.

An activist website said over 100 Syrians had been killed on Sunday, most of them civilians.

Direct military action

Annan arrived on Sunday at the Dama Rose hotel in the Syrian capital, where UN observers have been staying since suspending their patrols because of an increase in the level of violence.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday that Syrian opposition forces were growing more effective and the sooner the violence ended, the better the chances of sparing Syria's government a "catastrophic assault" by rebel fighters were.

While Assad has faced sanctions and international condemnation over his crackdown on dissent, major Western and Arab powers have shied away from direct military action.

Turkey has reinforced its border and scrambled fighter aircraft several times since Syria shot down a Turkish reconnaissance jet on 22 June over what Damascus said were Syrian territorial waters in the Mediterranean. Ankara said the incident occurred in international air space.

"The sooner there can be an end to the violence and a beginning of a political transition process, not only will fewer people die, but there is a chance to save the Syrian state from a catastrophic assault that would be very dangerous not only to Syria but to the region," Clinton told a Tokyo news conference.

She appeared to be referring to the possibility of Syrian rebels launching such an assault on state institutions rather than to any outside intervention.

'Sand running out'

"There is no doubt that the opposition is getting more effective in their defence of themselves and in going on the offence against the Syrian military and the Syrian government's militias. So, the future ... should be abundantly clear to those who support the Assad regime," Clinton added.

"The sand is running out of the hour glass."

Syria's navy fired live missiles from ships and helicopters over the weekend, in an exercise aimed at demonstrating its ability to "defend Syria's shores against any possible aggression", state media said.

Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said residents of al-Sharifa in the wider Deir al-Zor province on Sunday reported that rebels had taken over a tank for the first time and were using it to attack army positions.

The rebels have gained confidence in recent weeks, staging bolder attacks, holding pockets of territory across the country and clashing with troops only a few miles from the presidential palace in Damascus.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-09 11:41

    Annan is wasting his time with this assad terrorist, One CANNOT negotiate with a dictator, who will ALWAYS , put ALL the blame onto others! A FORCED REMOVAL, IS THE ONLY WAY TO PEACE

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-09 12:59

      Are you going to participate in this "forced removal". Keyboard warriors a revolution do not make.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-09 14:07

      This is another of your silly childish comments. While you sit in your home, safely behind your computer,typing away irrelevant crap , a mother in Syria, is hiding under her bed with her children, in fear of these assad TERRORISTS kicking in her front door, and than shooting her AND her children at point blank range, and if they wont die immediately, they will take out their butcher's knife and stab them till their last breath of air, AND than these ROTTEN assad MURDERERS will make a fire and burn this woman and her children , till there is only ashes left. AND YOU, WITH YOUR 24/7 BS AND CRAP, SUPPORT THESE DOGS. WHAT KIND OF A HUMAN BEING ARE YOU ???????????????

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-09 15:24

      Just because you're gullible enough to fall for the lies of the opposition doesn't give you the right to condemn those who don't. If you stop repeating lines that the media feeds you without verifying them, you will come across a lot cleverer.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-10 05:10

      Fidel, "you will come across a lot cleverer" As long as I don't become 'clever' like you !! I would hate myself !!

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-09 12:00

    "The biggest obstacle is that many countries do not even want this plan to succeed so they offer political support and continue to provide the terrorists in Syria with arms and money," Peace can only come to Syria when these "Friends of Syria" stops arming the rebellion, and order their poodles to lay down their arms and start talking with the Syrian government. War, fighting and violence stand in the way of peace. Let the Syrians figure it out amongst themselves.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-09 12:30

      ""Let the Syrians figure it out amongst themselves."" What a load of BS !! For FIFTY YEARS, the Syrian opposition wanted to 'figure' it out with these THUGS. This Bastard assad's daddy MURDERED TWENTY THOUSAND OF HIS OPPOSITION. At the beginning of this uprising, now 16 months ago, the opposition was willing to talk to these assad terrorists. Their response; the slaughtering of SIXTEEN THOUSAND SYRIANS, MAINLY UNARMED CIVILIANS!!! Even if the USA and Europe thought 'talks' are the best way forward, they are smart enough, to realize that the opposition , will NEVER again, even think, of sitting down with this DOG !!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-09 12:50

      The U.S.' greatest weapon of mass deception are the fools like you in this thread, who fervently believe their simple minded lies. Both sides are implicated in the killing of civilians yet the mainstream media has created a narrative in which virtually all the killing is the work of the Syrian army. Let the Syrian settle their indifference and brings a political settlement by themselves. Western intervention is only fueling the violence, not peace.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-09 13:47

      Fidel believes the unelected dictator who's in control of the Syrian state, is being armed by Russia, and has killed thousands of unarmed demonstrators with sniper-fire, detained, tortured and raped tens of thousands more because they want to vote for their leaders, and who openly refers to himself as the bloody surgeon of Syria.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-09 15:49

      Your are a cliche generating software that randomly takes words from the article or a prepared vault of words, and then place them into a commonly employed syntaxic string. You really, really are truly insufferable!!! Same old rubbish repeated in thread after thread.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-09 21:19

      Patrick, Stop bullsh.tting, YOU care about Syrians??????? You don't care a damn about the ones living in the same flat building as yourself !!!!!

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