Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Kofi Annan, the UN envoy in Syria is optimistic after yesterday's meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but stresses that it will be difficult to reach an agreement to stop the clashes which since March 2011 have left more than 7500 people dead. "I was in the country for a very short period - he says - but almost every Syrian I met wants peace." The diplomat said that the population is tired of violence and wishes a speedy return to normality.
In the talks which began on March 10, Annan asked the Syrian president and the opposition to stop the fighting, provide a humanitarian corridor to help the wounded and lay the foundations for dialogue.
Despite the optimism of the former UN secretary general, many are skeptical of the outcome of the meetings. Assad stressed that any discussions will not begin as long as there are armed terrorists in the country. The rebels want the president to leave power. Within the 48 hours of Annan's stay, about 120 people died in clashes between the army and Free Syrian Army. The majority of victims were in the city of Idblid (northern Syria), under siege of the regime troops for the past two days, but there were also victims in Homs and Hama.
Today, Koi Annan will travel to Turkey to meet Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister and inspect camps set up in the province of Hatay on the border with Syria.