VIDEO: Violence persists in Syria as government commits to April 10 cease fire date
Kofi Annan, the U.N. special envoy to Syria, told the Security Council on Monday that the Syrian government had agreed to withdraw its military forces from the nation's cities and end its violent repression of civilian protesters. It remains to be seen if they will follow through.
Syrian forces will withdraw from population centers and end their attack on the civilian population centers by April 10, United Nations special envoy Kofi Annan announced Monday.
At least, that's what Syrian officials have promised. Whether they will follow through and whether that will bring to an end the year-long violent conflict between rebels and pro-Assad regime loyalists remains to be seen.
Annan told the U.N. Security Council, according to The New York Times, that he's had constructive talks with Syrian rebels, though they're expected to wait and see whether the government abides by the cease fire before the rebels lay down their arms — or at least put them away for a while. Some 9,000 people have been killed so far, according to U.N. estimates.
"The Syrian government’s commitment came a day after a large gathering of nations, including many Arab nations and the United States, moved closer to a direct intervention in the conflict by agreeing to provide equipment and money to the array of rebel forces seeking to end President (Bashar) Assad’s grip on power," the Times wrote.
Assad criticized the gathering as an act of war against Syria.
The U.N. is also considering how it could monitor a cease fire with peacekeepers, though the Syrian government has not yet agreed to welcome peacekeepers.
Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told the BBC that the United States was skeptical that Syria would follow through on its commitments.
"Annan told the closed session that Syria had said it was not ready to pull troops and heavy weapons out of the cities unless the armed opposition laid down their weapons too," the BBC wrote.
There were already signs of hedging, with the Syrian government saying they would only agree to a cease fire if the rebels made a similar commitment.
Annan told the U.N., according to the BBC, that he's had positive conversations with the rebels, who have indicated their willingness to put down their arms within 48 hours of the government ceasefire.
"Here and Now", from WBUR in Boston, is an essential midday news magazine for those who want the latest news and expanded conversation on today's hot-button topics.