The Syrian Conundrum: Latest On The Uprising

Posted on April 15, 2012 in GlobeScope

By Vishakh Unnikrishnan:

After more than a year of political turmoil, nationwide agitation and communal unrest in an attempt to squelch the Syrian government under Bashar al-Assad regime, the Syrian government has admitted to comply to with UN envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan, the first phase being to withdraw all troops from urban areas and assure ceasefire against all protesters.

The Syrian foreign ministry had promised that it will halt all means of combat by the dawn deadline on Thursday but enunciated that it reserves the right to respond to any attack by “armed terrorist groups”. The ceasefire plan has been declared as ‘very fragile’ by many international agencies including the United Nations.

Both belligerents of the battle have accused each other for violating the ceasefire plan. The scepticism among most country leaders proved right when, on Thursday evening (April 12) reports came in that the ceasefire plan has not been observed amply. The state news agency also reported that there was violence across some urban areas, and almost 24 deaths were recorded after the ceasefire deadline. Kofi Annan, who was expected to act as a cynosure for both belligerents made a statement late on Thursday that the ceasefire that was supposed to take effect at 6 AM yesterday “appears to be holding”.

It was reported to the UN security council that Syria has not fully complied with the terms of Kofi Annan’s peace plan and it is of paramount importance that the 15-nation body should demand the withdrawal of troops and heavy weapons from towns. Anxious to build on a truce between the armed forces and rebels, Kofi Annan also brokered that the United Nations has the right to observe and monitor the implementation of the ceasefire proposal. Annan also hopes that in the current circumstance, the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and Arab League will help make sure the peace-plan is in compliance with support of other relevant countries.

The Syrian interior ministry has although warned that only ‘pre-authorised’ demonstration will be allowed by the police. The Syrian National Council, who have been in the forefront in partially acting as Syria’s government in exile for the opposition, is also very sceptical about the ceasefire promise, as they believe Assad could simply not afford to stop combat, since that would allow a new wave of mass protests against his family’s four decades of absolute power. Russia and China, two countries who had vetoed resolutions condemning the Syrian regime also hailed concern about the implementation of Annan’s ceasefire proposal.

Kofi Annan’s six-point plan also calls for talks with the opposition aimed at a “political transition” in the state , the release of political prisoners, access for humanitarian aid and journalists, and for the authorities to “respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully”. With the current developments in the state, scepticism is inevitable on whether all phases of Annan’ peace plan will be complied or not.