Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem says Damascus will continue to respect and implement the peace plan brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.
According to a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Muallem told his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in Beijing on Wednesday that Damascus is committed to implementing the ceasefire, withdrawing troops from crisis-hit cities and cooperating with UN observers in Syria to monitor the implementation of the Annan plan.
Muallem also told reporters that Damascus wants to see sufficient numbers of UN observers in the hot-spots and that Syria is ready to give the monitoring mission access to its Air Force.
Muallem’s remarks came as Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is preparing plans to increase the UN observer force from 30 to 250 members.
An initial group of six monitors arrived in Syria on Sunday and the observers have so far visitedthe southern city of Dara’a.
Calm has returned to most parts of Syria since the ceasefire was announced almost a week ago, though there have been reports of sporadic clashes in some parts of the country with Damascus accusing armed groups of violating the truce by continuing attacks on government forces.
Opposition activists have been claiming that the army has killed a number of civilians since the ceasefire took effect last Thursday.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011 and many people, including security forces, have been killed in the unrest.
By Areeb Hasni
Damascus: Free Syrian Army (FSA), a country’s rebel group, has abandoned the peace plan brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan and started attacks on soldiers.
Major Sami al-Kurdi, a Free Syrian Army spokesman, said the rebels were no longer bound by the truce after their Friday deadline passed. The rebels had earlier threatened to abandon the ceasefire unless the army stops its operations against armed groups by Friday.
At least 80 Syrian soldiers were killed by rebels over the weekend, an activist group said. FSA had earlier urged Annan to issue a statement declaring his peace plan to have failed.
The announcement of rebels’ abandoning the ceasefire and resuming their attacks comes as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that Free Syrian Army has killed over 100 soldiers across the country over the weekend, Press TV reported.
Syrian government has repeatedly accused the armed groups fighting against the regime of violating the ceasefire since it was declared on 12 April as part of Annan’s six-point peace plan to end months of unrest in Syria.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. Many people, including hundreds of security forces, have been killed in the country over the past 15 months—Houla massacre being the worst of all.
While the West and the Syrian opposition say the government is responsible for the killings, Damascus blames “outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups” for the unrest, insisting that it is being orchestrated from abroad to pave the way for foreign intervention.