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Annan warns of `all-out civil war` in Syria

Annan called on the international community to act quickly as the longer nations waited to find a solution to the Syrian crisis.



New York: As the crisis in Syria worsens, UN and Arab League joint envoy Kofi Annan on Thursday said his six-point peace plan is not being implemented in the troubled nation and warned of an "all-out civil war" if urgent and united action is not taken to end the violence.

"Today, despite the acceptance of the six-point plan and the deployment of a courageous mission of United Nations observers to Syria, I must be frank and confirm that the plan is not being implemented," Annan told a special session of the 193-nation UN General Assembly on the Syrian crisis here.

"If things do not change, the future is likely to be one of brutal repression, massacres, sectarian violence, and even all-out civil war. All Syrians will lose," he said.

The former UN Secretary General was tasked three months ago to lead a united effort on behalf of the UN and League of Arab States to stop the violence and killing in Syria, and launch a political process for a transition that met the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.

Annan`s six-point peace plan calls for an end to violence by all sides, withdrawal of troops and heavy weapons from cities, deployment of the monitoring force, and dialogue between the government and opposition aimed at a Syrian-led "political transition."

"The violence is getting worse. The abuses are continuing. The country is becoming more polarized and more radicalized. And Syria`s immediate neighbours are increasingly worried about the threat of spillover," Annan said.

Annan called on the international community "to act quickly" as the longer nations waited to find a solution to the Syrian crisis, "the more radicalized and polarized the situation will become, and the harder it will be to forge a political settlement."

Annan said the unity of the international community has to be taken to a new level and "we must find the will and the common ground to act and act as one. Individual actions or interventions will not resolve the crisis.

"As we demand compliance with international law and the six-point plan, it must be made clear that there will be consequences if compliance is not forthcoming," he said.

He offered a ray of hope saying it is still possible to avert the worst and enable Syria to emerge from the crisis if the international community came together and acted as one.

Annan had met Assad in Damascus a few days ago urging him to take "bold and visible" steps to radically change his military posture and honour his commitments to the peace plan.
"President Assad believed the main obstacle was the actions of militants. Clearly, all parties must cease violence. But equally clearly, the first responsibility lies with the Government," Annan said, adding government-backed militia seem to have free rein with appalling consequences.

Annan also expressed "horror and condemnation" over the most recent massacre of more civilians, including children and women, in Al Qubayr, west of the Syrian town of Hama.

"Those responsible for perpetrating these crimes must be held to account. We cannot allow mass killing to become part of everyday reality in Syria," he said.

He said the massacre yesterday in Al Qubayr came just two weeks after the shocking killings in Hula. He voiced concern that the crisis in President Bashar al-Assad led Syria is escalating.
About 90 civilians, including more than 32 children under the age of 10, were massacred in Hula, a village near Homs in Syria.

PTI

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