06/05/2012, 00.00
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Syrian rebels invoke "total war". Assad expels some ambassadors

Opponents no longer respect the cease-fire in effect since April 12. New army being planned-funded by Sunni Muslim countries. Assad declares ambassadors of the United States, Great Britain, France and Turkey no longer welcome.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Syrian rebels say they no loner respect the ceasefire in place since April 12 and have launched an appeal to all Sunni Muslims countries for funds for a "holy war" against the regime of Bashar al- Assad. Meanwhile, the Syrian government has thrown the ambassadors of the United States, Great Britain, France and Turkey out of the country.

For the leaders of the Syrian Army Free the six-point plan proposed by Kofi Annan is "stillborn". It has never been respected by the regime, the prime accused for the Houla massacre where 108 people were killed including 49 children.

Over the past two days more than 80 soldiers and officials of the regime were killed in gun battles with rebel militias. In response to attacks, the Syrian army launched an offensive with tanks and heavy weapons in the provinces of Hama and Idlib, where four civilians were killed today. This confirms the risk of dangerous "spiral of violence", where "death calls death" described by Mgr. Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus, in an interview with AsiaNews on 28 May.

Today, the rebel General Mustafa al - Sheikh announced the creation of the Military Coalition For Syrian Revolutionaries Front, in the war against Assad, galvanising opposition militias into one army. The aim is to arm "all Islamic fighters", creating a corridor on the border with Turkey and Iraq for the passage of weapons and money to spend. This strategy is in place for months and sees Saudi Arabia and Qatar as one of the main funders of rebels, but so far always been denied by both countries of the Gulf and by the rebels.

Yesterday, the Syrian Nataional Council (SNC), a political group that represents part of the Syrian rebels, has distanced itself from the military coalition, stressing that the only way forward is the peace plan proposed by the Arab League and the United Nations. Ahmad Fawzi, spokesman for the SNC accuses Western countries and the media of having decreed the death for the Kofi Annan plan before its implementation. "Many people like you have questioned whether the six-point plan has failed - whether it is the end, whether it is dead. They've written the obituary already. But we will continue to pursue the plan because it is the only option on the table at the moment. "

Despite the pressure for military intervention and for new sanctions against the regime, yesterday UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon confirmed that the Annan plan is still one of the basic tools with which to address the Syrian issue. He has ruled out the possibility of military intervention in the short term. Today, on the occasion of the visit of Vladimir Putin to Beijing, Russia and China again reiterated their "no" to any attempt to topple the Assad regime with weapons.

Today, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said the government has declared as "unwelcome people", 17 diplomats, including ambassadors from the United States, Great Britain, France and Turkey. "Last week - said the press - some countries have asked our diplomats to leave the host countries, Syria now also considers personnel of these countries unwelcome."


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See also
Moscow wants Damascus to implement Kofi Annan plan. Opposition and U.S. skeptical
Assad promises an end to violence by April 10, according to the UN peace plan
Ankara sends war jets to Syrian border
Damascus, Annan meets Assad to save the peace plan
For Syrian priest, Assad's acceptance of Annan plan is a sign of hope


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