No sign Assad meeting peace deal commitments: US

Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad has shown no sign so far that his government is sticking to a peace plan to end the fighting in Syria just hours before a UN deadline, the White House said Monday.

"We certainly have seen no sign yet of the Assad regime abiding by its commitments, which is obviously quite unfortunate," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

Under a peace deal brokered by UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, Syria's armed forces are supposed to withdraw from protest centers on Tuesday, with a complete end to fighting set for 48 hours later.

But the truce appeared in jeopardy after Damascus said Sunday it would only meet its side of the bargain if rebels first handed over written guarantees to stop fighting, a demand rejected by rebel army chief Colonel Riyadh al-Asaad.

"The international community, including, obviously, the United States, is unanimous in its support for special envoy Kofi Annan's mission to bring an end to the violence and begin a Syrian-led political process toward democracy," Carney said.

"The deadline, as you know, for the Syrians to begin their military -- or rather, to end their military withdrawal -- is April 10.

"So we will see what happens come April 10 and we will look to Kofi Annan to make an assessment on the behavior by the Syrian regime."

At least 105 people were killed on Monday as fresh clashes raged, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said after weekend violence claimed almost 180 lives, most of them civilians.

Tension also escalated with neighboring Turkey after shots across the border wounded two Syrians and a Turkish translator near a refugee camp hosting people who escaped from forces loyal to Assad.

"We condemn all the attacks that have been launched, the brutal violence against the Syrian people," Carney said.

by Abdelmoneim Abu Edris Ali © 2012 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Apr 9, 2012