New Conditions from Syria's Assad, Won't Withdraw Troops
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has come up with new conditions in order to withdraw his troops from cities as promised by April 10.The country's foreign ministry said in a statement issued Sunday, “To say that Syria will pull back its forces from towns on April 10 is inaccurate, Kofi Annan having not yet presented written guarantees on the acceptance by armed terrorist groups of a halt to all violence.”
The six-point peace plan proposed by the former United Nations secretary-general, who has since been sent as an envoy of the U.N. and the Arab League, was formally endorsed by the U.N. Security Council last Thursday.
The ceasefire, due to take hold on Tuesday, calls for a withdrawal of government forces from Syrian population centers, among other measures.Annan said he was told by Damascus that it had started moving troops out of Idlib, Zabadani and Dera'a.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose border marches along Syria's northern province of Idlib, told the local daily Hurriyet “We will patiently follow the process until April 10,” but added his country would “implement steps” if the violence in Syria did not end after that.Some 2,800 Syrians fled to Turkey in less than 48 hours last week in order to escape the Assad-driven slaughter. More than 24,000 Syrian refugees are currently making camp in on the Turkish side of the border, according to Ankara.
The U.N. has estimated that more than 9,000 Syrians have been killed by government forces since the uprising against Assad began a little over a year ago, ignited by the Arab Spring movement that swept the region.