Syrian rebels call for peace plan to be declared a failure
If the Free Syrian Army abandons the peace plan, which they warned yesterday they might do, any vestiges of restraint – on either side – could vanish.
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Middle East Editor
Ariel Zirulnick is the Monitor's Middle East editor, overseeing regional coverage both for CSMonitor.com and the weekly magazine. She is also a contributor to the international desk's terrorism and security blog.
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Syrian rebel forces are calling for the end of the United Nations peace plan for Syria, which would eliminate the only mechanism in place for instilling any sort of restraint on either side of the anti-government uprising that has become increasingly violent.
The peace plan includes a cease-fire, which has been repeatedly violated since its implementation in April but still has acted as something of a tempering force for both the government and the rebels. If the Free Syrian Army (FSA) abandons the peace plan, any last efforts at restraint could vanish.
FSA leader Col. Qassim Saadeddine said in a video message yesterday that the FSA would consider itself "no longer bound" by UN special envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan if President Bashar al-Assad's regime missed the deadline, BBC reports.
Citing last week's massacre in Houla, in which 108 people were killed, most of them by execution, he said "there is no more justification for us to unilaterally respect the truce because [President Bashar al-Assad] has buried Annan's plan," Agence France-Presse reports.
FSA head Gen. Riyad Asaad denied there was a deadline, but urged Mr. Annan to declare his peace plan a failure "so that we would be free to carry out any military operation against the regime," according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, the US envoy to the UN, Susan Rice, issued a dire prediction about the course of the conflict. The New York Times reports that while speaking to reporters yesterday after a UN Security Council briefing, she said, “There seems to me to be only one other alternative, and that is indeed the worst case, which seems unfortunately at the present to be the most probable. And that is that the violence escalates, the conflict spreads and intensifies, it reaches a higher degree of severity, it involves countries in the region, and it takes on increasingly sectarian forms, and we have a major crisis not only in Syria but in the region.”