Annan Meets with Assad; Talk of Military Aid Increases
U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan talked with Syrian President Bashar Al Assad in the hopes of calling for a ceasefire. However, the Syrian Network for Human Rights reported another 83 people dead despite Annan’s presence. There did not seem to be much progress after the first meeting. Although Assad said, ”Syria is ready to make a success of any honest effort to find a solution for the events it is witnessing,” he then added, “No political dialogue or political activity can succeed while there are armed terrorist groups operating and spreading chaos and instability.” BBC’s Lina Sinjab in Damascus says this is a clear message that the military operation, and violence, will continue. In a second round of meetings, Annan said he handed over a set of “concrete proposals” aimed at defusing the Syria crisis, saying, “I presented a set of concrete proposals which would have a real impact on the situation on the ground and which will help launch a process aimed at putting an end to this crisis.”
During the meeting with Annan, reports said Assad’s forces continued their crackdown on civilians, launchinga long-anticipated assault on the city of Idlib. Nick Meo of the Telegraph, reported from Antakya that the violence was escalating. “In a frightening escalation of the Assad regime’s war on its people, helicopter gunships now hang in the air above the countryside, shooting at civilians on the move, or turning their fire on rebel villages – in addition to the armoury of tanks and artillery already punishing those who dared to oppose,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, the international community is seeking other solutions as a peaceful resolution seems less likely with each passing day. The Barack Obama administration and its allies and international partners have begun serious discussions about potential military involvement in Syria, even as they continue to press for nonviolent solutions to the carnage there. Possibilities include directly arming opposition forces, sending troops to guard a humanitarian corridor or “safe zone” for the rebels, or an air assault on Syrian air defenses, according to officials from the U.S., however, the international community remains deeply divided. In the meantime, Qatar sent a generous donation to anti-Assad officials of a $100m through Libya. Although some say the money is for much needed humanitarian aid, others believe the donation was the next logical step to arming the Syrian opposition, which Qatar and Saudi Arabia have both said is an “excellent idea.”