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July 09, 2012

UN: Syrian peace plan not working

Former U.S. Secretary General Kofi Annan's peace plan for Syria has failed thus far. (UPI/Maryam Rahmanian)

DAMASCUS, Syria (UPI) -- A United Nations document admits former U.S. Secretary General Kofi Annan's peace plan in Syria has so far failed.

The document outlined options for the United Nations going forward, including a plan for U.N. observers in Syria to continue fact-finding in the country, but with a limited scope due to the escalating violence, CNN reported Sunday.

"From a central hub in Damascus, the civilian component would continue liaison and dialogue with opposition and Government representatives in the provinces as security conditions allow," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote.

The Syrian army began large-scale military exercises involving missile tests Sunday, leading to the deaths of more than 30 people, opposition activists said.

The tests took place in Aleppo and Deir Ezzour provinces in order to test the army's effectiveness in an emergency situation, the Day Press News reported. At least 17 of the dead were civilians.

SANA reported the Syrian army clashed with terrorist groups attempting to enter the country from Lebanon and Turkey Sunday. The Syrian government has blamed such terrorist groups on the unrest in the country, the Day Press News said.

The death toll for the violence across Syria Sunday was reported as 19 by the Syrian Network for Human Rights and Damascus Centre for Human Rights Studies and 35 by the Day Press News. The United Nations has stopped keeping track of the number of deaths because they are impossible to verify, the Day Press News said.

The United Nations said more than 10,000 people have died since protests against Bashar Assad's regime began in March 2011, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights puts that number at closer to 16,700.

Meanwhile, the former prime minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri, slammed the Lebanese government Saturday for remaining silent about the deaths of two civilians allegedly caused by Syrian shelling.

"The Lebanese are not surprised their government doesn't care if our citizens are killed and sovereignty violated by Syrian regime," he said. "In fact all Lebanese know this government was appointed to facilitate such crimes to begin with."

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