Assad replies to UN proposals to end bloodshed
Damascus: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has responded to UN-Arab League proposals for an end to the bloodshed in Syria even as monitors said nearly 50 more people were killed and a pro-regime daily reported the capture of a rebel city.
UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, who met with Assad in
Damascus over the weekend, said he had made "concrete"
proposals to the Syrian leader on ways to halt the attacks and secure humanitarian access to cities where the United Nations says thousands have been killed in the past year.
"Their responses are being considered," Ahmad Fawzi,
spokesman for the envoy, said yesterday, declining to
comment on the substance of the Syrian response. Annan is
expected to make a statement today in Geneva.
Despite international pressure and growing clamour for
foreign intervention, Assad's regime has pushed on with a
brutal crackdown on a year-long revolt that has killed more
than 8,500 people, mostly civilians, according to activists.
Annan also said he had a "useful meeting" with six
representatives of the opposition Syrian National Council
headed by Burhan Ghalioun, whom he said had "promised their
Meanwhile, the United States dismissed Assad's
announcement of elections May 7 under a new constitution
passed in February.’
"Parliamentary elections for a rubber-stamp parliament in
the middle of the kind of violence that we're seeing across
the country -- it's ridiculous," US State Department
spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in Washington.
They would be the third such polls since Assad came to
power in 2000, but the first under a multi-party system as
authorised under the new charter.
In the latest clashes, 22 members of the security forces
were killed in two separate ambushes in the southern region of
Daraa and in Idlib province of northwest Syria, another
hotspot of rebel operations, monitors said.