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Annan says surge in Syria violence 'unacceptable'
 
GENEVA, April 8 (BSS/AFP) - The international mediator for Syria, Kofi Annan, said on Sunday he was shocked by the "unacceptable" surge in bloodshed there despite a UN deadline for a halt to all violence next week.

"I am shocked by recent reports of a surge in violence and
atrocities in several towns and villages in Syria, resulting in
alarming levels of casualties, refugees and displaced persons, in
violation of assurances given to me," Annan said in a statement.

The UN Security Council on Thursday formally endorsed April
10 as the deadline for the Syrian army to withdraw from cities,
with a complete halt to violence by all sides 48 hours later.

"I remind the Syrian government of the need for full
implementation of its commitments and stress that the present
escalation of violence is unacceptable," he said, calling on both
the government and the opposition to cease all forms of violence
by Thursday's deadline.

His comments came after one of the deadliest days in Syria
since the regime launched a brutal crackdown on protests in March
last year, with nearly 130 people killed on Saturday alone.

"This is a time when we must all urgently work towards a full
cessation of hostilities, providing the space for humanitarian
access and creating the conditions for a political process to
address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian
people," Annan said.

Annan, who is the UN-Arab League envoy for Syria, said he was
in "constant contact" with the Syrian government and he asked
"all states with influence on the parties to use it now to ensure
an end to the bloodshed and the beginning of dialogue".

Syria earlier Sunday said its forces would not withdraw from
protest hubs without written guarantees from the rebels.

"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 foreign ministry said.
 
 
 
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