Annan firm on his plan amid killings
DAMASCUS / GENEVA
Syrian protesters shout slogans during an anti-regime demonstration in the town of Atareb, near Aleppo. AFP photoThousands of Syrians took to the streets on May 4 to show their determination to oust President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, as the office of envoy Kofi Annan insisted his peace plan was “on track,” a day after the White House said it may be time for the world to acknowledge that a cease-fire is not holding in Syria, and that it is time to try another approach to stop the violence.
The demonstrations came after government forces reportedly killed at least 10 civilians in Hama, Homs, and Aleppo only hours after U.N. peacekeepers urged Damascus to make the first move to end nearly 14 months of bloodshed.
“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,” the U.N.-Arab League envoy’s spokesman, Ahmad Fawzi, told journalists in Geneva. “There are signs on the ground of movement, albeit slow and small. Some heavy weapons have been withdrawn, some heavy weapons remain. And that is not satisfactory; I’m not saying it is.”
Major General Robert Mood, who heads the U.N. mission to oversee the cease-fire agreement, issued an appeal late on May 3 for the al-Assad regime to make the first move to end the violence.
“If the regime’s intransigence continues, the international community is going to have to admit defeat,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said on May 3. It was the clearest statement yet that the Obama administration sees little chance for the cease-fire and peace plan. “It is clear, and we will not deny that the plan has not been succeeding thus far,” Carney said.
Compiled from AFP and AP stories by the Daily News staff.
Erdoğan to visit Syrian refugees
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will visit Syrian refugees sheltering at a container city in the southeastern province of Kilis. Erdoğan will attend his Justice & Development Party’s (AKP’s) congress in Gaziantep city, and then proceed to Kilis on May 6, the Prime Ministry said. Erdoğan planned to visit Syrian refugees in Hatay in October, but had to postpone the trip due to his mother’s death. 9,627 Syrians are taking refuge in Kilis. The Turkish Prime Ministry’s Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate said yesterday there were 23,011 Syrians staying in Turkey after fleeing violence in Syria.