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Syria to halt military operations on Thursday, says Annan

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Syria to halt military operations on Thursday, says Annan


Syrian authorities promised international envoy Kofi Annan that they will meet Thursday’s deadline to stop military operations, according to his spokesman.

Syrian state TV also confirmed that government forces will halt all fighting, although they did not mention the agreed cut off time of 05:00 Central European Time (CET).

The confirmation came in a letter to Annan’s office in Geneva, while the UN-Arab League envoy was in Tehran to win support for his six-point peace plan.

“I am grateful for the support of Iran, given its special relations with Syria, and I believe Iran can be part of the solution,” said Annan.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Tehran was relieved that the plan did not involve military intervention: “We are pleased to see that there is no talk of forcing the Syrian leader to step down or talk of regime change in Mr Annan’s proposals, and that his plan encourages multi-party negotiations and makes time for change to take place.”

Syrian troops defied Tuesday’s original ceasefire deadline brokered by Annan.

Government forces continued to pummel opposition neighbourhoods in the city of Homs on Wednesday, said activists. They claimed at least 40 people had been killed across Syria since Tuesday’s deadline passed.

Hours before Wednesday’s confirmation by Damascus, the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) called for the international community to threaten Damascus with military force.

“An actual intervention, unanimity is the message that the regime needs to hear in order to change, I think. There will be strong hope that the regime will comply if it sees that there is no more protection from any of the big powers,” said SNC spokeswoman Basma Kodmani.

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