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Syria Crisis: Regime Agrees To April 10 Deadline, U.N.-Arab League Envoy Kofi Annan Tells UN

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SYRIA CRISIS DEADLINE ANNAN
Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan meets with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, unseen, at the Great Hall of People in Beijing on Tuesday, March 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Lintao Zhang, Pool) | AP



UNITED NATIONS, April 2 (Reuters) - U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has asked the U.N. Security Council for support in implementing an April 10 deadline for Syria to partially implement his peace plan, with a full ceasefire within 48 hours thereafter, envoys said on Monday.

Annan told the 15-nation council behind closed doors that Syria has agreed to the idea of such a deadline, which would include the end of troop movements toward population centers, the withdrawal of heavy weapons and a start to the withdrawal of troops, U.N. diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

So far, however, there has been no sign of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad keeping his promise to implement Annan's six-point peace plan, which calls for an end to violence and political dialogue between the government and opposition aimed at a "political transition" for the country.

There is "no progress on the ground," a diplomat inside the meeting told Reuters in a summary of Annan's remarks.

Despite the lack of progress, Annan suggested to the council there may be the beginnings of a plan to end the year-long conflict and he urged council members to "begin consideration of deployment of an observer mission with a broad and flexible mandate," a diplomat said.

The U.N. peace keeping department has already begun contingency planning for a U.N. ceasefire monitoring mission that would have 200 to 250 unarmed observers. Such a mission would require a Security Council resolution.

It was not immediately clear how Russia was responding to Annan's suggestions. Russia and China vetoed two council resolutions condemning Assad's assault on pro-democracry demonstrations, which were inspired by other "Arab Spring" uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa.

The United Nations says Syrian soldiers and security forces have killed more than 9,000 people over the past 12 months. Damascus says rebels have killed 3,000 troops and police.

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syria car bomb Syrian policemen inspect the site of a car bomb explosion on Mazzeh highway in the capital Damascus on July 13, 2012. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/GettyImages)


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U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice tweets:

@ AmbassadorRice : #Syria regime turned artillery, tanks and helicopters on its own men & women. It unleashed knife-wielding shabiha gangs on its own children.

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Russia says international envoy Kofi Annan will visit Moscow on Monday to discuss the ongoing crisis in Syria. Russia also called for an inquiry into an alleged massacre that took place in the village of Tramseh on Thursday. "We have no doubt that this wrongdoing serves the interests of those powers that are not seeking peace but persistently seek to sow the seeds of interconfessional and civilian conflict on Syrian soil," Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement, according to Reuters. Moscow did not apportion blame for the killings.

Read more on Reuters.com.

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The Associated Press obtained a video that purports to show the aftermath of an alleged massacre in the village of Tramseh, near Hama.

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How do Syria's fighters get their arms? An overview put together by Reuters explains that there are three gateways to the country -- Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq.

Syrian rebels are smuggling small arms into Syria through a network of land and sea routes involving cargo ships and trucks moving through Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq, maritime intelligence and Free Syrian Army (FSA) officers say.

Western and regional powers deny any suggestion they are involved in gun running. Their interest in the sensitive border region lies rather in screening to ensure powerful weapons such as surface to air missiles do not find their way to Islamist or other militants.

Read the full report here.

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syria This citizen journalism image made from video provided by Shaam News Network SNN, purports to show a victim wounded by violence that, according to anti-regime activists, was carried out by government forces in Tremseh, Syria about 15 kilometers (nine miles) northwest of the central city of Hama, Thursday, July 12, 2012. The accounts, some of which claim more than 200 people were killed in the violence Thursday, could not be independently confirmed, but would mark the latest in a string of brutal offensives by Syrian forces attempting to crush the rebellion. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network, SNN)


syria This citizen journalism image made from video provided by Shaam News Network SNN, purports to show a man mourning a victim killed by violence that, according to anti-regime activists, was carried out by government forces in Tremseh, Syria about 15 kilometers (nine miles) northwest of the central city of Hama, Thursday, July 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network, SNN)


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According to the Hama Revolutionary Council, a Syrian opposition group, more than 220 people have been killed in a new alleged massacre in Taramseh. Earlier reports said more than 100 people were killed. "More than 220 people fell today in Taramseh," the Council said in a statement. "They died from bombardment by tanks and helicopters, artillery shelling and summary executions."

Fadi Sameh, an opposition activist from Taramseh, told Reuters he had left the town before the reported massacre but was in touch with residents. "It appears that Alawite militiamen from surrounding villages descended on Taramseh after its rebel defenders pulled out, and started killing the people. Whole houses have been destroyed and burned from the shelling," Sameh claimed.

Read more on Reuters.com.

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Syrian activist Rami Jarrah tweets that Syrian State TV has confirmed deaths in Tremseh. "Terrorists" is often the term used by the Syrian regime for opposition forces.

@ AlexanderPageSY : Syrian State TV: clashes between security apparatus & terrorists in #Tremseh of #Hama leaves large numbers of terrorists killed #Syria

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@ Reuters : UPDATE: DEATH TOLL IN SYRIAN FORCES' ATTACK ON VILLAGE IN SYRIA'S HAMA REGION IS MORE THAN 200, MOSTLY CIVILIANS - OPPOSITION ACTIVISTS

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@ Reuters : At least 100 killed in Syrian village: opposition activists http://t.co/FG3fJwu8

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