Conflict & Justice

Kofi Annan condemns Syria as violence resumes


United Nations and Arab League special envoy to Syria Kofi Annan (C) arrives for a meeting with Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi (R) on March 8, 2012 at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo. Days ahead of his trip to Damascus, the former UN chief urged the Syrian opposition to cooperate to resolve the conflict that has left thousands dead in the past year.



Kofi Annan, international envoy to Syria, said Tuesday that the situation in the country is 'bleak' and said he was shocked by reports of further violence.

Annan said that he was concerned that even as international monitors observe a fraying truce, the fighting continues when the monitors depart.

"I am particularly alarmed by reports that government troops entered Hama yesterday after observers departed, firing automatic weapons and killing a significant number of people," Kofi Annan told UN Security Council members, reported CNN.

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Annan's spokesperson echoed his statements and said that those speaking to UN monitors may be targeted later.

"When [the monitors] leave, the exchanges start again," Annan spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told UN Television in Geneva, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"We have credible reports that … these people who approach the observers may be approached by security forces or Syrian army and harassed or arrested or even worse, perhaps killed."

Observers say that the Syrian government has failed to withdraw heavy weapons from highly populated areas - a move that is required in the cease-fire the country agreed to, said the Associated Press.

Annan told the Security Council that the Syrians had agreed to take weapons and troops out of the streets by April 21, replacing them with regular police forces.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon also criticized Syria, saying that the situation was "unacceptable," reported CNN.

More than 9,000 Syrians have died since the start of the uprising over a year ago.

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