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Syria Cease-Fire Appears On Brink Of Collapse

Filed by KOSU News in World News.
April 9, 2012

A cease-fire deal between the Syrian government and the Free Syrian Army appears to be all but dead after the rebels refused to provide a written guarantee to end attacks.

NPR’s Grant Clark reports that the Syrian government said it would not withdraw its troops from towns and cities by a Tuesday cease-fire deadline without a written guarantee that armed dissidents would stop fighting if they do.

The last-minute obstacle occurred as the death toll mounted in fighting that has claimed thousands of lives since an uprising began last year.

Violence has increased ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, according to the BBC. Activists said that 70 people were killed on Sunday, bringing the weekend toll to at least 180, most of them civilians.

The Associated Press reported:

Syrian forces on Monday fired across the border at a refugee camp inTurkey, killing one and wounding four, activists said. It is the first such attack since Ankara began allowing thousands of refugees to find shelter in the country.

A Turkish government official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with government rules, said his country — which stands at the forefront of calls for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad — immediately protested the incident and called for fire to be halted.

U.N. envoy Kofi Annan is scheduled to pay a brief visit to one of the refugee camps in Hatay province, bordering Syria, on Tuesday afternoon before heading to Iran,Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said. Annan’s office confirmed the trip to Turkey.

NPR’s Grant says the Syrian regime wants Annan to guarantee that Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey will cease funding for the rebels. The envoy did not directly respond to the demands and has not said what would happen if the Tuesday deadline is not met.

The United Nations has estimated more than 9,000 people have been killed in 13 months of anti-Assad rebellion. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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