04/17/2012, 00.00
SYRIA

As rebels and regime violate the ceasefire, Kofi Annan's plan collapses

Speaking to AsiaNews, sources describe a chaotic, unstable and dangerous situation. Extremists who flocked to Syria only to kill are among the opposition. UN-Arab League observers begin their mission.

Damascus (AsiaNews) - "Kofi Annan's ceasefire has failed. Fewer deaths were reported in the first two days, but now shooting has restarted. More than 50 people were killed yesterday in clashes between the military and rebel groups," sources told AsiaNews. They describe the situation in Syria as "chaotic, unstable and dangerous. [. . .] An Assad government official told us that neither side wants to end the violence. The war will last for a long time."

Six observers from the joint UN-Arab League arrived in Syria yesterday. Their task is to monitor the ceasefire that came into effect on 12 April, and to implement Kofi Annan's peace plan.

Today, after setting up their operational base the officials began contacting regime officials and rebel leaders. When the team sent by United Nations Security Council is up to full strength, it will have 250 members.

Annan's plan calls for an end to the violence, gradual implementation of the ceasefire, shipment of humanitarian aid, release of people held without trial, free movement for journalists, and political talks between the government and the opposition.

Despite the best efforts by the UN-Arab league envoy to broker talks between the Assad government and rebels, sources say that people inside the country are pessimistic about its future. Even the capital Damascus is affected by explosions, clashes and violence.

"As described in the media, the opposition does not exist," sources say. "Rebels are divided in various factions. They include groups of common criminals moving around the country, and foreign terrorists who have come to Syria only to kill."

"The Free Syrian Army (FSA) is considered the opposition's official representative, but in reality it is just one many armed groups fighting against the regime," the sources added. "Both sides are violating the ceasefire. (S.C.)

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