Syria pledges to ′continue′ cease-fire despite shelling | News | DW | 18.04.2012
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Syria pledges to 'continue' cease-fire despite shelling

Syria has reportedly restated its commitment to implementing a UN brokered cease-fire which was set to begin last week. Its reassurances were reportedly contradicted, however, by ongoing attacks on rebel-held areas.

Syria has pledged to respect a cease-fire brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, China's foreign minister said Wednesday, even as Syrian forces continued to shell rebel neighborhoods in the restive city of Homs.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met with his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem in Beijing on Wednesday to discuss the 13 months of violence in Syria. The Chinese foreign ministry said Syria had pledged to "continue to... respect and implement Annan's six-point proposal."

Muallem was on a brief visit to China in the latest effort by Damascus to avoid more international isolation for its crackdown on anti-government rebels.

Members of a UN monitor team speaks to the media at a hotel in Damascus

Ban Ki-moon has called for more support for the small team of UN observers

The peace plan proposed by Annan includes a full cease-fire and the withdrawal of Syrian troops from protest cities. The cease-fire was due to take full effect last Thursday, but government forces have continued the assault on rebels, according to reports from opposition groups.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government forces bombarded four rebel districts in Homs on Wednesday. Sniper fire on Tuesday reportedly killed at least six, among 15 dead across the country.

A small team of UN observers has arrived in Syria to monitor the cease-fire, but UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for a larger mission of at least 250 people backed up by helicopters and planes.

Annan's plan also includes the allowance of peaceful demonstrations, the release of political prisoners and a peaceful transition of political power.

acb/ccp (AP, AFP)