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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Surprise! Syria seems to have no cease-fire intentions

From Al Arabiya:
Global leaders on Tuesday accused Syria of failing to begin implementing a ceasefire deal as regime forces pounded protest hubs on the deadline day, with 28 civilians among more than 50 people killed.

The U.N. Security Council called on President Bashar al-Assad to keep a Thursday deadline for a complete ceasefire in the Syria conflict, after his forces and heavy weapons did not pull back from key cities in the crackdown.

Syria said it was abiding by the deal, but U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan accused it of pulling troops from some areas and moving them elsewhere.

Annan insisted the deal was not in tatters, however.

“The plan has not been implemented according to the schedule that we laid out... but it does not mean that it cannot be implemented.”

In a letter to the Security Council, he said “the days before April 10 could have been an opportunity for the government of Syria to send a powerful political signal of peace. In the last five days it has become clear that such a signal has yet to be issued.”

Annan said Damascus should have taken steps “to cease troop movements towards population centers, to cease all use of heavy weapons in such centers, and to begin pullback of military concentrations in and around population centers.”

This had not happened, Annan said.

Fifty-two people, including 28 civilians, were killed on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. They included 19 members of the security forces and five rebels, bringing the toll since the weekend to at least 337.
But Annan still thinks that Syria might come around.
U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan said the situation in Syria should be “much improved” by a Thursday deadline if both sides in the conflict respect his peace plan.

Annan, speaking at a news conference in Tehran on Wednesday, said: “If everyone respects [it], I think by six o’clock in the morning on Thursday the 12th, we a should see a much improved situation on the ground.”

He also said the government in Damascus had given “further clarifications” on how it would implement its side of the plan.
Meanwhile, for the second time this week, Syria fired across the border towards a Turkish refugee camp:
Shots fired by Syrian forces early Wednesday hit a Syrian refugee camp just across the border with Turkey, Turkish media reported.

News channel CNN-Turk showed images of automatic rifle fire towards Turkish territory from a border surveillance building flying the Syrian flag near Kilis in southeastern Turkey.

Several television stations reported that troops had fired at Syrians trying to cross no man’s land on the frontier to seek refuge in Turkey from the violence rocking Syria.

Bullets hit a nearby camp of prefabricated buildings without wounding anyone but causing panic among the refugee population.

On Monday, shooting from the Syrian side of the border wounded four Syrians and two Turks on Turkish soil.

“It was a very clear violation of the border,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Beijing. “Obviously we will take the necessary measures,” he was quoted as saying by the Turkish news agency Anatolia.

Turkey, a one-time ally of the Syrian regime but now one of its strongest critics, is home to around 25,000 Syrians in several camps set up in three provinces.
Meanwhile, a columnist in Now Lebanon compares the daily death tolls from Syria today with the total of Deir Yassin 64 years ago. Yet instead of noting that this must mean that Syria is hundreds of times worse than Israel by any measure, he merely says that Syrians are "emulating" Zionists, who by definition must be the standard-bearers for killing Arabs. This is even though the number of Arabs killed by Israel since 1948 is infinitesimal compared to the numbers killed by other Arabs. Even the number of Palestinian Arabs killed by Israel since 1948, total, is far less than the number of PalArabs killed by Arabs in that same time period.