A Tenuous Truce Holds, but Syria Lacking Full Compliance With Peace Plan
The world turned a skeptical eye toward Syria on Thursday after a truce cast relative calm over restive cities and towns previously pounded by government forces.
“Syria is apparently experiencing a rare moment of calm on the ground,” said Kofi Annan, the special envoy who brokered Syria’s peace plan.
“This is bringing much-needed relief and hope to the Syrian people who have suffered so much for so long in this brutal conflict. This must now be sustained.”
However, Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Annan told U.N. Security Council members that Syria lacks full compliance with the peace plan and that troops and heavy weapons remain in population centers despite an agreement to withdraw.
Signs of hope in Syria conflict Blair: No confidence in what Syria says When will the Syria violence end? U.S. lawmaker: Syria a ‘serious challenge’
“They need to be pulled back and forces returned with their equipment to barracks,” Rice said.
In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad did not have the luxury to pick and choose what to implement in the peace plan.
“The Annan plan is not a menu of options,” she said. “It is a a set of obligations.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney called the truce tentative.
“We cannot call what’s happening on the ground a full cease-fire,” Carney told reporters. “A tentative cease-fire, a less-than-full cease-fire is not equal to a full implementation of the regime’s obligations under the Annan plan.”
Adib al Shishakly, a member of the Syrian National Council, an umbrella group of exiles, said Damascus needs to abide by all six points of Annan’s peace plan.
“They diluted the whole initiative into one thing: into the cease-fire only,” al Shishakly said. “What happened to the other five?”
The plan also calls for the release of detainees, allowing access into the country for humanitarian aid and international media, and respecting the rights of peaceful demonstrators.