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Annan Demands Immediate Syria Cease-Fire

UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan (left) with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on March 10
United Nations-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to implement a cease-fire immediately as part of a plan aimed at resolving the yearlong Syria conflict.

Annan's appeal came as Syrian government troops were reportedly again shelling the central city of Homs, an opposition stronghold, on March 30.

Assad has said he agrees to Annan's proposals to resolve the conflict -- but Annan's spokesman said the former UN secretary-general wanted the Syrian government to stop the violence immediately.

"The deadline is now," the spokesman Ahmad Fawzi, said.

He said Annan wanted government forces to implement the cease-fire first, but was also working to convince the opposition to stop shooting and "start talking."

The UN estimates that more than 9,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict since Arab Spring-style protests and insurrection broke out more than a year ago.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP