Syrian Opposition Rejects Annan’s Call for Political Solution
International diplomatic efforts to persuade Syria’s president towards peace talks and a much-needed cease-fire were rejected by “the leader of the main exile opposition group.” Kofi Annan, who is due in Syria Damascus on Saturday to meet with Assad, said that any further militarization of the conflict would be a mistake and called for a political settlement to resolve the conflict. “I hope that no one is thinking very seriously of using force in this situation,” Annan said. “I believe further militarization will make the situation worse.”
Burhan Ghalioun, leader of the Syrian National Council, called the comments “disappointing.” These kind of comments are disappointing and do not give a lot of hope for people in Syria being massacred every day,” he said. “It feels like we are watching the same movie being repeated over and over again.” Additional dissidents also expressed discontent “It seems he lives on Mars,” said Mohammad Saeed, an activist in the Damascus suburb of Douma.
Reuters has reported that Syrian opposition forces have claim that four high-ranking officers had defected over the past three days, The men have defected from the Syrian army, according to Lieutenant Khaled al-Hamoud, spokesman for the FSA. He reported to Reuters by phone that these recent desertions bring the total number of brigadier generals who have defected to seven. They are the highest-ranking officers to abandon Assad. “We have six brigadier generals who are now in Turkey and another, who has stayed to lead some battalions inside Syria,” Hamoud said. “we plan to form an advisory council to absorb these an any other high-ranking defections and this group will plan operations for the FSA.” Brigadier General Adnan Farzat, announced his defection on YouTube Tuesday, has chosen to remain in Syria saying he objected to the intensified shellingin his home town.
As Annan heads to Syria, U.N. relief official Valerie Amos was permitted to visit the decimated city of Homs and Baba Amr for a short, 45 minute period in order to asses humanitarian needs. She reported that she was “overwhelmed” by the level of destruction. She stated that “almost all the buildings had been destroyed and there were hardly any people left there,” which begs the question where the residents could have gone. She is the first outsider to visit the embattle area. Amid these developments, the Syrian regime has yet to cease its assault on several areas of Syria, as 26 deaths were reported on Friday. The Local Coordination Committees described government tanks shelling the city of Homs.