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      Syria Formally Accepts 'Annan Peace Plan'

      President Bashar al-Assad has formally accepted a UN-backed peace plan penned by special envoy Kofi Annan.
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 3/27/2012, 4:56 PM

      Assad Tours Homs
      Assad Tours Homs
      Reuters

      President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday formally accepted the six points of UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan for Syria.

      1. Syria commits to work with Annan "in an inclusive Syrian-led political process to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people."
      2. Syria commits to stop fighting and immediately stop troop movements and use of heavy weapons in populated areas. As these actions are being taken, Syria should work with Annan to end all violence, under U.N. supervision. Annan will seek similar commitments from the opposition to stop all fighting.
      3. Syria accepts and implements a daily two hour "humanitarian pause" to deliver aid and evacuate the injured.
      4. Syria commits to intensify "the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons" and provide a list of all places where such people are being held.
      5. Syria commits to ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists "and a nondiscriminatory visa policy for them."
      6. Syria commits to "respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully as legally guaranteed."

      "The Syrian government has written to the Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan accepting his six-point plan, endorsed by the United Nations Security Council," Annan spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said in a statement.

      "Mr Annan views this as an important initial step that could bring an end to the violence and the bloodshed, provide aid to the suffering, and create an environment conducive to a political dialogue that would fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people," he said.

      Annan has "written to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad asking Damascus to put its commitments into immediate effect," Fawzi told reporters.

      The special envoy also urged the release of people detained over the past year of the popular uprising against Assad's regime, which human rights monitors say has taken more than 9,100 lives.

      There has been no formal response from the opposition Syrian National Council or Syria Free Army, who previously rejected Annan's plans until Assad halts his crackdown on anti-regime protesters.

      However, one member of the Syrian National Council did tentatively welcome the news Assad had accepted Annan's UN-backed peace plan.

      Paris-based Bassma Kodmani told The Associated Press on Tuesday that "we welcome all acceptance by the regime of a plan that could allow the repression and bloodbath to stop".

      She added, "we hope that we can move toward a peace process."

      Meanwhile, at least six more people were killed Tuesday morning in a suburb of Damascus and in Homs, one of the strongest opposition centers.

      Assad reportedly visited Homs this morning in a sign that his soldiers have successfully suppressed rebel forces.

      Violence also spilled over into neighboring Lebanon, where dozens of Syrian troops destroyed a farm while pursuing army defectors who had fled in armored personnel carriers.