International Pressure on Syria Grows After Killings | The New York Times
By Neil MacFarquhar
International efforts to pressure Syria intensified on Monday, as the United Nations special envoy Kofi Annan began negotiations in the capital, Damascus, and the chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff warned that continued atrocities could make military intervention more likely.
Mr. Annan traveled to Syria seeking to salvage his peace plan, which appeared more precarious than ever after the massacre of at least 108 villagers in the Houla area of central Syria. He urged the government to hold to its commitment in March to honor the six-point plan, which included not only a cease-fire, but also political dialogue with the opposition and freedom for Syrians to demonstrate.
“I urge the government to take bold steps to signal that it is serious in its intention to resolve this crisis peacefully, and for everyone involved to help create the right context for a credible political process,” Mr. Annan said. Creating the right climate for progress was the responsibility of not only the government but “everyone with a gun,” he added.
Questions about the viability of the plan were thrown into sharp relief by the massacre in the villages that constitute Houla, near Homs, on Friday, whose victims included 49 children and 34 women by United Nations count. The Security Council on Sunday unanimously condemned the massacre and, while not assigning blame, censured the Syrian government for using heavy artillery against civilians.
FULL ARTICLE (The New York Times)
Photo: Shaam News Network/ Reuters