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Kofi Annan heads for Syria, urging dialogue

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Kofi Annan heads for Syria, urging dialogue


Devastated by the destruction she found in Homs, the UN’s humanitarian chief is pursuing her visit to Syria.

Valerie Amos wants to secure unhindered access for aid organisations, which have been barred from the heaviest conflict zones.

The UN’s former Secretary General and its current envoy to the Arab League, Kofi Annan, is due in Damascus on Saturday. He has warned against any further militarisation of the conflict and is urging dialogue between President Assad and his foes.

Rebel fighters fled Homs a week ago after nearly a month of shelling by government forces. Activists say soldiers are now carrying out reprisal killings in the shattered city.

But pictures posted online purportedly show some rebels still clashing with members of the military in Homs. Questions remain over what happened to its residents as a result of the sustained army assault.

As troops continue a crackdown that the UN says has claimed more than 7,500 lives, reports say more senior military officers have defected. Earlier a deputy oil minister became the first high-ranking civilian official to do so since the uprising began a year ago.

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