Activists Report Deadly Day in Syrian Conflict: Up to 190 Killed
Syria’s opposition on Friday reported the deadliest 24-hour period so far in the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad and said rebel fighters had seized two Syrian generals, one of them the highest-ranking officer to fall into insurgent hands.
Accounts of the intensified mayhem in Syria came as Kofi Annan, the special envoy for the United Nations and the Arab League, prepared to hold a high-level meeting in Geneva that includes the five permanent members of the Security Council to rescue his sidelined Syrian peace plan from total irrelevance.
Mr. Annan told Reuters television that he was optimistic that the meeting, to be held Saturday, would be a success. But Russia, the Syrian government’s most important backer, suggested that Mr. Annan’s hope for creating a political transition in Syria had serious problems, raising questions about what the Geneva meeting could accomplish.
In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry called for new cease-fire mechanisms and the synchronized withdrawal of all armed combatants from Syria’s populated battle zones. Only then, the statement said, could talks begin that “would allow the Syrians to independently define the agenda and time frames of the transition period.”
Russia has opposed any proposal that would impose a political solution on the Syrians from the outside.