UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaking in Geneva said that presently this is a critical point for Syria, and the world is watching with skepticism due to previous promises being broken by the government of Syria. He has said that Syria’s words on a ceasefire should be will be matched by their deeds, but that UN military action to get Syria would not be an option. Obviously Syria’s adherence to the ceasefire is therefore voluntary.
Many including the Arab-envoy Kofi Annan are concerned that Syria may not comply with all the points in the peace plan set down by the UN. Under these terms the six- point peace plan agreed to by Syria, all violence and fighting was to stop on today.
Mr Ban Ki-Moon said today: “Joint special envoy Kofi Annan and I and many world leaders have made it quite clear that any militarization or any military operation is not an option. It will only complicate and worsen the situation and thus arming opposition forces is not desirable.”
Today’s ceasefire followed Kofi Annan receiving a letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Syria informing him of the Syrian Governments decision “to cease all military fighting throughout Syrian territory as of 6 a.m. Damascus time 12 April” but it also said it wanted to keep the right to respond to any attacks carried out by terrorist groups or civilians against “government forces or public and private property.”
Mr Annan who has been visiting Iran said there could be “improved conditions on the ground” by Thursday morning. However the Syrian government had previously failed to withdraw troops and weaponry from large population centres as it had agreed. So far at least 100 people have been reported dead. Three people were killed on Wednesday after violent shelling in the city of Homs and the Deraa province.
Mr Annan told reporters in Tehran that he had received “further clarifications” from the government of President Bashar al-Assad on how it intended to suspend hostilities, and respect his six-point peace plan.
Mr Annan said “We have been in touch with them and have had positive answers from them and have also approached governments with influence to ensure that all parties respect the ceasefire”
The two activists have been missing from their home town of Aleppo since 2 November, raising fears that they have been arrested and are being held in secret detention where they may be at risk of torture.
Mohamed Bachir Arab and Ahmed Omar Azoz, were reportedly involved in organising peaceful protests in Aleppo. They were both in hiding from the Syrian authorities at the time they went missing, after security forces visited their homes.
According to sources, Mohamed Bachir Arab was planning to meet his friend Ahmed Omar Azoz on 2 November. The men have not been seen or heard from since.
“We are worried that the two activists have been arrested and are being held in secret detention, not only because of the recent interest the Syrian security forces have shown in them, but also because there has been a widespread pattern of activists being whisked off the streets and held in isolation from the outside world.
“The authorities should immediately disclose any information they have about their whereabouts.
“If Mohamed Bachir Arab and Ahmed Omar Azoz have indeed been arrested, they must be allowed contact with their families and given access to a lawyer immediately.”