The deadline for the Syrian government to begin withdrawing forces from urban areas as agreed in a ceasefire plan, has come and gone – but there are ongoing reports of attacks on Syrian cities.
Activists claim there has been more violence and there are still tanks on the streets in several places including Homs and Aleppo.
After meeting with his Russian counterpart in Moscow, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al Muallem accused the opposition of escalating the violence and said the government had made the first move: “We have withdrawn some troops from some cities in keeping with point C of Kofi Annan’s peace plan. I believe that the cessation of violence must be synchronized with the arrival of international observers.”
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed the role of foreign powers in putting pressure on the opposition to meet its April 11 ceasefire deadline, though he did acknowledge the Syrian government could try harder.
“I think the Syrian authorities could be more active, resolved and decisive in the time taken to implement Kofi Annan’s plan,” Lavrov said.
Part of the plan put forward by Kofi Annan, who is an Arab League and UN envoy for the Syrian crisis, includes President Bashar al-Assad withdrawing heavy weapons from urban areas, but the opposition claims they are still being used in cities like Hama.
According to the agreement, both sides are supposed to end all violence by April 12.