Annan for more pressure on Syria’s rival sides

DAMASCUS – International envoy Kofi Annan on Friday urged the world to raise the level of pressure on Syria’s rival sides and said Iran should have a role to play in the effort.

There will only be results if the international community unites, said Annan, who fears that “national initiatives” by some UN Security Council members were undermining its attempts to resolve the 15-month conflict.

“If our efforts are to succeed, we shall need the united and sustained support of the international community,” the envoy told a press conference in Geneva.

“It’s time for countries of influence to raise the level of pressure on the parties on the ground and to persuade them to stop the killing and start the talking,” he said.

Annan told reporters that he could not confirm whether a key meeting of nations would meet in Geneva on June 30 over the crisis, adding that an announcement would be made next week.

Discussions will focus on what can be done to ensure the implementation of Annan’s six point plan which has been repeatedly breached since it came into force on April 12. The envoy said he hoped the permanent members of the Security Council would attend the meeting as well as countries with influence on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. He later told reporters Iran “should be part of the solution” in Syria.

Meanwhile, The Syrian regime on Friday accused rebels of carrying out a “brutal massacre” of 25 of its supporters, as neighbouring Turkey held emergency talks after a Turkish military plane went missing near Syria.

Monitors said regime forces fired on demonstrators in second-largest city Aleppo killing at least eight people while another was killed in the province of the same name.

In neighbouring Turkey, the plane incident triggered an emergency summit of military, intelligence and government officials.

NTV private news channel reported citing unnamed military sources that the plane crashed in Syrian territorial waters, but there was no violation of the Syrian border.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, quoted by local media, said the two pilots were alive. Syrian and Turkish coastal guards were collaborating to reach the plane wreck, NTV said earlier.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights gave a higher toll for the pro-regime losses in the latest reported massacre, saying at least 26 government supporters — most of them members of the feared shabiha militia — had been killed.

The Britain-based watchdog also reported that government forces opened fire on demonstrators in Aleppo province killing nine, as activists called nationwide protests.

In the capital, troops fired on demonstrators in the upscale district of Mazzeh, the watchdog said, without giving any immediate word on casualties.

Source: The international News

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