Syria rebels give government deadline

2012-05-31 09:00

Beirut - Armed rebels have given the Damascus regime until noon on Friday to stick to Kofi Annan's peace plan to end violence in Syria, warning they themselves will quit the truce unless the ultimatum is met.

"If the Syrian regime does not meet the deadline by Friday midday, the command of the Free Syrian Army announces that it will no longer be tied by any commitment to the Annan plan ... and our duty will be ... to defend civilians," a FSA statement said.

The ultimatum comes as the death toll from assaults by President Bashar al-Assad's forces on protest hubs spirals and after the UN reported two massacres of civilians in the past week, leaving a 12 April truce negotiated by UN-Arab League peace envoy Annan in tatters.

The FSA singled out in particular a 25-26 May massacre near the central town of Houla in which more than 100 people died, including 49 children and 34 women.

Some were blown to bits by artillery and tank fire but most were summarily executed, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Power to the people

"After the barbarous massacre of women and children at Houla ... we announce that there is no more justification for us to unilaterally respect the truce because Assad has buried Annan's plan," the FSA statement added.

The rebels demanded that the regime adhere to all six points of the Annan plan: An immediate ceasefire; an end to all forms of violence; tanks and armoured vehicles out of civilian areas; humanitarian access to all regions; the freeing of political prisoners and protesters; and access by the media to all parts of the country.

The FSA also demanded a commitment by Assad's regime not to attack the UN observer mission overseeing the truce, "and the opening of serious negotiations through the United Nations to deliver power to the people".

More than 13 000 people have been killed, mostly civilians, since an uprising erupted against Assad's regime in March 2011, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

  • Fidel - 2012-05-31 09:24

    Which "rebel" group should the Syrian government be listening to. There's a whole lot of armed thugs and terrorists rounding around in Syria, all claiming to be speaking on behalf of the Syrian population.

      Henry - 2012-05-31 09:35

      Free Syrian Army statement said. Wait until they get armed to the teeth by the West and the Arab nations opposed to Iran fidel. Going too laugh at your rantings when assad's regime crumbles and one more nation is freed from a slimy dictator. Enjoy fidel,you on the wrong side of history.

      Fidel - 2012-05-31 09:46

      Which Arab nations would that be, the democracy loving Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia? Bombing people to save them? How is bombing poor civilian populations of the Third World from the air good for their voting rights, medical care and enhancing personal income and wealth distribution?

      Henry - 2012-05-31 10:09

      Try Egypt,Tunisia,Libya,Jordan,Lebanese Maronites,Turkey(not arab),perhaps even the Israeli's will supply arms(not likely though) along with Nato. Enjoy,then iran will be cornered like a rabid dog,the mullahs will see their rear ends in time for their beligerance.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-05-31 10:11

      Fidel, ""Which "rebel" group"" That Libyan fruitcake, called them "rebels" and "rats" This assad calls the "terrorists" And the ones who live in a democracy; call them; OPPOSITION MEMBERS ""all claiming to be speaking on behalf of the Syrian population"" There is a very easy way to find out who speaks for whom; ELECTIONS !!!!!!!

      Henry - 2012-05-31 10:11

      Plus it won't be a Nato no fly/bomb assad campaign. This will be a ground war,the Rebels versus assad vader.

      Fidel - 2012-05-31 10:21

      It is so easy to speak about war from the comfort of your keyboard. Happy war mongering.

      Fidel - 2012-05-31 12:18

      Hope your wit doesn't get lost among the peanut gallery!

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-01 01:46

    "Armed thugs and terrorist groups". You're talking about Assad's militate, right? That's the amazing and completely transparent thing about your perspective: it's so obviously upside down.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-01 01:46

      This is addressed to Fidel

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-01 01:46

      Should be "Assad's militia"

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