Syria conflict must end at 6 am April 12: Annan
United Nations: UN Arab League envoy Kofi Annan said the Syrian army and rebels in a year-long conflict that has killed thousands must end all violence by 6 am Syrian time April 12 if the government meets its agreed deadline to halt fighting two days earlier.
"I urge the government and the opposition commanders to issue clear instructions so that the message reaches across the country, down to the fighter and soldier at the local level," Annan told the UN General Assembly.
Syria told Kofi Annan it had begun pulling troops out of several cities on Thursday in line with a peace plan accepted by President Bashar al-Assad, but his foes said the army was still firing in those towns and elsewhere.
"They are complete liars, there is no army withdrawal, they are still in the middle of the city. They fired on the city this morning, like they do every day," a man calling himself Abu Mustafa said by telephone from Zabadani near the Lebanon border.
However, he did acknowledge a modest pullback. "The army withdrew 15 tanks yesterday, but the rest are all around the checkpoints as usual," Abu Mustafa said.
A diplomatic face-off intensified between Syria's ally Russia and Western powers who want Assad to go, with France accusing the 46-year-old Syrian leader of cheating on his promises, while Moscow told opposition supporters abroad not to set ultimatums.
There has been no let-up in the violence since Assad accepted Annan's six-point peace plan more than a week ago.
In the flashpoint city of Homs, activists filmed explosions in a street littered with debris. Blasts and gunfire rocked Douma, a town near Damascus, shortly before a senior UN peacekeeping official arrived in the Syrian capital.
Norwegian Army former Chief of Staff Major-General Robert Mood, 54, brought an advance planning team of 10 to decide how around 250 UN monitors might oversee the truce between army and insurgents due to take effect by next Thursday.