Annan says Syria accepts peace plan, U.S. skeptical

by
March 28, 2012

By Erika Solomon and Oliver Holmes

(Reuters) - Syria has accepted a U.N.-sponsored peace plan, international envoy Kofi Annan said on Tuesday, as troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad raided rebel forces who have taken refuge across the border in Lebanon.

The United States reacted skeptically to Annan’s announcement, saying it would judge Assad’s sincerity in agreeing to the peace plan by what he did and not by what he said, given his record of “over-promising and under-delivering.”

Assad made a rare foray into the heartland of Syria’s year-old uprising, visiting a former rebel stronghold in the city of Homs that his forces had overrun after weeks of shelling and gunfire, apparently to make the point that he can now tour the streets of the once bitterly fought-over district.

Syrian state television showed a video of Assad, wearing an open-necked shirt with a blue suit, walking casually in the devastated streets of the Baba Amr district and talking to groups of supporters and troops in combat gear.

Baba Amr was an emblem of opposition and rebel army defiance until it was reclaimed by government forces early this month after 26 days of heavy bombardment which opposition activists said was totally indiscriminate.

“Life will return to normal in Baba Amr, better than it was before,” Assad said.

Activists say hundreds of civilians and opponents of Assad were killed in Baba Amr in February by shelling and snipers.

“He thinks he won and scored a great victory,” said opposition activist Saif Hurria, speaking by telephone from Homs. “He wants to show the world he defeated and put down a revolution. But … it seems he can’t even release the video until he has left Homs. That is not control.”

To read more, visit: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/28/us-syria-idUSBRE8280G820120328

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