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UN Spokesman Says Syria Peace Plan On Track

  • RFE/RL

Syrian rebels stand in the Khalidiya district of the central city of Homs on May 3.

Syrian rebels stand in the Khalidiya district of the central city of Homs on May 3.

The spokesman for international envoy Kofi Annan says the peace plan for Syria remains "on track" -- despite incomplete compliance.

Spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told reporters that negotiations were being "conducted under the radar" on a halt to hostilities between opposition fighters and Syrian government troops.

He added that "there are small signs of compliance" with the peace plan -- but admitted truce violations such as the continuing presence of heavy weapons in populated areas.

The spokesman also said a United Nations monitoring team is expected to have "around 50" observers deployed in Syria by the end of May 5 -- or around one-sixth of the number that has been authorized by the UN Security Council.

In Syria, those observers visited the Khalidiya district of Homs, a stronghold of opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that faced heavy bombing from government forces.

The head of the UN mission, Major General Robert Mood from Norway, called on all parties to end the violence and start dialogue.

"If we work together, all aspects of the Syrian people, the Syrian government, the Syrian opposition, the politicians in the capitals, the joint special envoy, the UN Security Council, that concerted effort will make it possible to present the choice," Mood said.

"The choice being going down the road of more violence, more suffering for women and children. Or going down the road of a peaceful transition, serving the aspirations of the Syrian people."

Meanwhile, the White House has condemned Syrian security forces for a crackdown on a student protest at Aleppo University.

Activists said four were killed and some 200 students arrested.

'New Approach' Needed?

White House spokesman Jay Carney said on May 3 that if the Assad regime intransigence continued, the international community will need to take a "new approach" on Syria.

"Now, we continue to hope that the Annan plan succeeds and we are working to support it in every way possible. However, it is clear and we will not deny that the plan has not been succeeding thus far and the regime has made no effort to take any of the steps required under the Anna plan, including moving toward implementing a full cease-fire," Carney said.

"If the regime's intransigence continues, the international community is going to have to admit defeat and work to address the serious threat to peace and stability being perpetrated by the Assad regime."

Analysts say the truce has led to a small reduction in the daily carnage, mostly in cities were monitors are deployed permanently.

However, reports spoke of mortar fire in Homs even as the UN monitors visited.

Explosions were also reported in the rebellious Jabal al-Zawiya area in Idlib and activists said at least one woman was killed by security forces' fire.

Clashes between rebels and the army also flared in Palmyra, home to historic Roman ruins in central Syria.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters