Annan shocked by violence as Syria delays pullback

Annan`s peace plan foresees the withdrawal of the Syrian army from protest cities on Tuesday.

Damascus: Peace envoy Kofi Annan said today
he was shocked by mounting violence in Syria ahead of a UN
deadline for regime forces to cease fire, as Damascus said its
troops will not withdraw from protest hubs without written

"I am shocked by recent reports of a surge in violence
and atrocities in several towns and villages in Syria,
resulting in alarming levels of casualties, refugees and
displaced persons, in violation of assurances given to me,"
Annan said in a statement.

It came as Syria`s main opposition group urged UN
intervention after one of the deadliest days in a year saw
nearly 130 people killed, mostly civilians.

As Tuesday`s deadline loomed for regime forces to
cease fire and pull back from rebel cities, the foreign
ministry said it had not been given assurances that "armed
terrorist groups" would also put down their guns.

"To say that Syria will pull back its forces from
towns on April 10 is inaccurate, Kofi Annan having not yet
presented written guarantees on the acceptance by armed
terrorist groups of a halt to all violence," it said.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council formally endorsed
the deadline, but Damascus said a day later the number of
"terrorist acts" has risen since the deal was agreed with the
UN and Arab League envoy.

"Mr Annan has not submitted written guarantees from
the governments of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey on stopping
their funding to terrorist groups," the ministry added of its
northern neighbour and strongest critics in the Arab world.

Annan`s peace plan foresees the withdrawal of the
Syrian army from protest cities on Tuesday, with a complete
end to fighting 48 hours later.

"Syria is not going to repeat what happened in the
presence of Arab observers when armed forces left towns,"
Sunday`s ministry statement said.