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Damascus trip to lay groundwork for Syria's promised ceasefire.
United Nations represenatives are set to arrive in Syria within 48 hours to discuss the deployment of a new team to monitor the government's promised ceasefire, Kofi Annan's spokesman told reporters today, according to Al Jazeera.
The deployment of observers to monitor the pledged halt in violence is part of Annan's six-part peace plan to end the bloodshed in Syria, where some 9,000 people have been killed in Assad's brutal crackdown on a yearlong anti-government uprising.
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Al Jazeera said sending a monitoring team to Syria would require a UN Security Council resolution. Such reslutions have been hard to come by -- China and Russia have twice shielded Assad from sanctions.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan today lashed out the group for not taking a firm position on Syria, saying it "has indirectly supported the oppression" because to "stand by with your hands and arms tied while the Syrian people are dying every day is to support the oppression," according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, Annan spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told reporters in Geneva today that “the modalities of the eventual deployment” of some 200 unarmed observers will be discussed in Damascus within the next two days, reported Financial Times.
“We have to plan as much as we can for the cessation of violence by all parties – there has to be a UN observer mission in place as soon as possible,” Financial Times quoted Fawzi as saying.
Syria has vowed to withdraw troops from populated areas by April 10 and enact a ceasefire with anti-government rebels in the ensuring two days, said Al Jazeera.
Activists in Syria say that the killing has continued unabated, telling Reuters that government troops shelled two cities today.
Britain's Telegraph also cited activists who said opposition strongholds in Homs and several other cities came under a fierce government-led assualt today.