The head of the so-called Free Syrian Army boasts that the armed group will not submit halt-to-violence guarantees to the Damascus government, in line with a UN-Arab League peace plan.
“We will present our guarantees and our commitments to the international community, but not to this (Syrian) regime,” said Colonel Riyadh al-Asaad on Sunday.
“We are committed to the Annan plan,” Asaad added, referring to a six-point plan proposed to Damascus in March by Kofi Annan, the special envoy to Syria for the United Nations and the Arab League.
The Free Syrian Army chief made the remarks hours after the Syrian Foreign Ministry said Kofi Annan had not provided “written guarantees” that the armed anti-Damascus groups would agree to halt violence in the country on their part.
“To say that Syria will pull back its forces from towns on April 10 is inaccurate, Kofi Annan having not yet presented written guarantees on the acceptance by armed terrorist groups of a halt to all violence,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued on Sunday.
On April 5, Annan’s spokesperson Ahmad Fawzi said, “What we expect on April 10 is that the Syrian government will have completed its withdrawal from populated centers.” The withdrawal was part of Annan’s proposed plan.
“Syria will not repeat what happened during the (Arab League) mission, when it committed to the exit of its armed forces from the cities and surrounding areas; then the armed terrorist groups took advantage to arm its members and conduct all forms of terrorism,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry statement said.
“Armed terrorist groups reorganized and rearmed to control entire neighborhoods, committing every possible terrorist act, killing and kidnapping people and destroying public and private property.”
The development came one day after Syrians held another demonstration in the capital Damascus in support of the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
President Assad said on March 6 that the Syrian people have “proven their capacity to defend the nation and to build a new Syria through their determination to pursue reforms along with the fight against foreign-backed terrorism.”