Assad shows no willingness to honor withdrawal pledge

Few observers placed much weight on the pledge of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to withdraw his troops and abide by calls from the international community to cease fire. According to news reports, there was good reason to greet Assad’s assurances with skepticism. With an April 10 deadline to comply with terms of the United Nations peace plan, it appears as if Assad will not comply, a real problem considering the international community seems to be without a “next step.

On Thursday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon told the Security Council that depsite “the Syrian government’s acceptance of the joint special envoy’s plan of initial proposals to resolve the crisis, the violence and assaults in civilian areas have not stopped. The situation on the ground continues to deteriorate.”

The Security Council issued another demand for Syria to to “urgently and visibly” halt its attacks on opposition targets – a move intended to bolster the efforts of UN envoy Kofi Annan.

The Independent reports that violence in Damascus was unprecedented with “eight hours of shelling in the worst violence the capital’s suburbs have seen so far, with snipers firing at anything that moved.”

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