The UN’s international envoy to Syria Kofi Annan has got Chinese backing for a peace plan just hours after President Bashar al-Assad agreed to its demands for a “national dialogue”.
That has not prevented his army from continuing its military action in several places.
While China’s backing for Annan represents a closing of international ranks against al-Assad there is no provision in the UN’s initiative for his removal from office. Ending the violence, admits Annan, will be “a long and difficult task”.
Yesterday Bashar al-Assad made a rare public frontline foray into Homs’s hardline Baba Amr district, which the army says it has recaptured from rebels after 26 days of heavy bombardment.
Activists say hundeds of civilians have died in the fighting.