Kofi Annan: ‘Syrians want peace already’
By Keating Smith, Contributor
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Syrian uprising, which is considered part of the wider-spread Arab Spring revolution in the Middle East, has seen some of the most violent attacks on Syria’s civilian population this year. Although many of the world’s top political leaders have their own opinions and strategies on how to end the conflict, no real intervention or peace envoy has come into action from foreign countries or the United Nations.
Syria was the main focus of discussion during the Arab League summit, which was held in Baghdad last week.
Nine heads of state and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon were among those attending the first Arab League summit Iraq has held in over 22 years. Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad was not invited.
Despite the security situation around the summit being heavily fortified in the palace once occupied by Saddam Hussein, two explosions were heard as the meeting started, one being the result of a rocket fired on the nearby Iranian Embassy.
According to Al Jazeera, “Arab leaders approved a resolution calling for an end to the government’s brutal crackdown, for the opposition to unite, and for parties to the conflict to launch a ‘serious national dialogue.’”
UN Arab League envoy Kofi Annan said the UN-led peace mission into Syria is “going to be tough and difficult but that he has hope” after leaving firm proposals for peace in place for al-Assad.
During the summit President al-Assad was in Damascus visiting wounded soldiers in a hospital and said “Syria would spare no effort to ensure the success of an international envoy and Kofi Annan’s peace mission.” He also warned “it would not work without securing an end to foreign funding and arming of rebels opposing him.”
In a meeting between Annan and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev two weeks ago, Medvedev told the press that Annan represented the last chance for avoiding a civil war in Syria. He also offered the UN-Arab League envoy Moscow’s full support.
This comes as a complete contrast to US President Barack Obama, who stated that the United States is committed to delivering ‘non-lethal’ support and humanitarian aid to the rebel forces in Syria. The decision goaded Russia, resulting in fierce condemnation of the West’s calls on President al-Assad to step down.
“Meanwhile, the Syrian Army that devastated the city of Baba Amr continues its brutal shelling of al-Khalidiya and its offensive in Hama Province. The rebels of the Free Syrian Army, who are rapidly running out of arms and ammunition, are being progressively forced to flee into neighboring Turkey and Lebanon,” reports Robert Grenier of Aljazeera.
Assad’s Syrian-led army has been targeting the civilian population of Syria in this region and reports confirm over 20 civilians died in clashes last week.