Free Syria Army member with an assault rifle 390 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Amateur video)
BEIRUT - The leader of the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) said on Sunday a
peace plan put forward by international mediator Kofi Annan was bound
to fail because Syria's government would not implement it.
Riad al-Asaad added his group had not been asked to deliver written
guarantees to end the violence in Syria - apparently contradicting
Damascus which on Sunday said it had demanded the written pledge as a
condition for the withdrawal of its troops.
"The regime will not implement this plan. This plan will fail," he told
Reuters by phone from Turkey. The rebels had already given a verbal
promise to stop fighting if the government did the same. "We have given
our word that if the regime commits to the plan then we will too. We are
The plan, drawn up by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, requires Syrian
President Bashar Assad to "begin pullback of military concentrations in
and around population centers" by Tuesday for a truce to start 48 hours
Earlier Sunday Al Jazeera had reported that a senior general in the Free
Syria Army had rejected Syria's demand for written guarantees that
insurgents will stop fighting before Syria pulls troops under the terms
of a peace plan.
Escalating violence has already raised questions over the ceasefire, and
the dispute regarding Syria's request only puts the likely success of
the wobbly truce further into doubt.
Opposition activists said dozens of people were killed and wounded on
Sunday when Syrian President Bashar Assad's loyalists shelled a
rebellious area near the border with Turkey.
UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, seeking to end the conflict that has
killed more than 9,000 people in the past year, said the latest
bloodshed violated the guarantees he had been given and urged Damascus
to keep its promises.
While emphasizing that would happen, Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad
Makdissi said in a statement that Syria also wanted the written
guarantees. Syria also sought guarantees that Qatar, Saudi Arabia and
Turkey - outspoken in criticizing Assad - would not fund the armed
Annan made no specific reference to the new Syrian demands in a
statement from his office in Geneva. He expressed shock at the "surge in
violence and atrocities." Each side has accused the other of
intensifying assaults in the run-up to the truce. "As we get closer to
the Tuesday 10 April deadline, I remind the Syrian government of the
need for full implementation of its commitments and stress that the
present escalation of violence is unacceptable," he said.