Syrian Opposition Rejects Kofi Annan’s New Plan
Amid Syria’s spiraling death toll, the joint U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, proposed a new plan to end the country’s violence, featuring a “unity government” that would include the participation of President Bashar al-Assad. Annan is set to discuss the plan with U.N. Security council members is Geneva Saturday, and remains optimistic that the talks will produce an acceptable outcome.
However, several of Syria’s opposition groups have already rejected the plan, saying that any plan that includes Assad’s participation in a transition government is unacceptable.”The proposal is still murky to us, but I can tell you that if it does not clearly state that Assad’s must step down, it will be unacceptable to us,” said Samir Nashar of the Syrian National Council.
The proposal is generally accepted by the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, though Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that it should not “predetermine” Assad’s fate. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has also said that it regretted that its proposal to include Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon in the talks has “met unsurmountable objections from the U.S. side, especially on the part concerning Iran.”
Meanwhile, the U.N.’s deputy envoy for Syria, Jean-Marie Guehenno said Wednesday that violence in the counrty may have “reached or even surpassed” the levels of those before the ceasefire in April, and that Annan’s peace plan, “is clearly not being implemented.” The U.N.’s Human Rights Council report claimed that Syrian government forces have committed multiple human rights violations. “In the increasingly militarized context, human rights violations are occurring across the country on an alarming scale during military operations against locations believed to be hosting defectors and/or those perceived as affiliated with anti-government armed groups, including the Free Syrian Army,” the report said.
Additionally, the U.S. says escalating violence in and around Damascus is a sign that Assad is losing control of the capital and a result of his continued aggression toward the Syrian People. U.S. State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said Thursday that Assad has created the conditions for a loss of government control in Damascus and elsewhere by “perpetrating violence against his own people, adding, “the preponderance of force is his and the responsibility is his.”