Annan steps down from role in Syria as Assad tightens his grip
Unable to garner support for his plan to resolve the Syrian war, United Nations special envoy Kofi Annan resigned his position – but not before criticizing the UN Security Council for “finger-pointing.” Despite making repeated trips to the region, Annan failed to convince China and Russia to step away from their support for the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Reacting to the decision, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei expressed respect, adding that China remained open “towards any proposals that would help promote a political solution to the Syria issue.”
While Annan’s peace plan had little prospect of bridging the divide between nations, it underscores the intractibility of the situation. For example, Tony Karon asserts that even though the Assad is losing his grip on power, the government is actually getting stronger citing a recent report by the International Crisis Group (ICG).
Assad’s ability to remain in power, he says, is due in part to the lack of chesion among the rebel groups.
“Not only are Syria’s rebel military and political groupings far more diverse and divided than their Libyan counterparts were, but the city of Aleppo itself appears to be divided between supporters and opponents of the rebellion. Large sections of the civilian population, particularly middle-class and wealthier residents, and also its Christian community, are hostile to the presence of rebel fighters in their city, even if they might be politically opposed to Assad,” Karon notes.
Violence is increasing on both sides and, as public executions reflect, more brutal. The US has pledged more humanitarian assistance but continues to reject calls for increased military assistance or intervention.