Erdoğan says he lost hope Syria will implement Annan plan
Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the northwestern city of Mashhad on March 29, 2012. (Photo: AP)
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said there is no reason to expect the Syrian government to implement a UN-backed plan by envoy Kofi Annan in the face of ongoing violence in Syria.
Although Syria had earlier said it accepted Annan's plan to end year-long violence in the country, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said on Thursday that he will spare no effort to ensure Annan's peace plan succeeds. However, he demanded that armed opponents battling his regime also commit to halting violence.
The United Nations says Syrian government forces have killed at least 9,000 people during the conflict, while the government says opposition fighters have killed around 3,000 soldiers and security forces personnel.
Erdoğan, speaking after a visit to Tehran where he had talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told reporters in Ankara late on Thursday that killings have not stopped in Syria since the time Syria said it accepted Annan's plan. The Syrian opposition has cautiously welcomed the envoy's six-point plan, but is also deeply skeptical Assad will carry it out, believing he has accepted it simply to gain time as his forces continue their bloody campaign to crush the uprising.
Armed opposition groups are unlikely to stop fighting unless offensives by security forces halt. It is also difficult for opposition forces to uniformly stop fighting since there is no central command structure.
Last year, Assad agreed to an Arab-brokered peace plan similar to Annan's, pledging to work with observers who traveled to Syria on a mission to end the crackdown. But the regime failed to pull out its tanks from towns and cities, saying the country was under attack from armed groups and the bloodshed has escalated sharply since the league halted its observer mission on Jan. 28.
Erdoğan said there is no need “now for me to say I am hoping or expecting something [from the Syrian authorities].” “Because he continues to kill. As we now see such a picture, I don't have any hope [that Syria will comply with the Annan plan],” Erdoğan added.