According to Ahmad Fawzi, spokesman for UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, the peace plan for Syria brokered by Annan “is on track” despite recent reports of violations. “A crisis that has been going on for over a year is not going to be resolved in a day or a week,” Fawzi said, noting that “slow and small” changes are happening on the ground.
Annan’s assessment came one day after the White House seemed ready to admit defeat. “It is clear, and we will not deny, that the plan has not been succeeding thus far and that the [Syrian] regime has made no effort to take any of the steps required under the Annan plan”, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Thursday. Carney added that although the administration hopes the plan succeeds, it remains “highly skeptical of Assad’s willingness to meet the conditions of that plan because he has so clearly failed to meet them thus far.”
The White House shouldn’t hold its breath. Though death toll numbers are difficult to verify, it is believed that some two dozen people died in Syria on Thursday in unrest-related violence, and at least 25 were killed across the country Friday. Since the ceasefire went into effect mid-April, it is thought that at least 700 people have been killed.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch released a report Wednesday accusing the Syrian regime of committing war crimes while Kofi Annan was working to broker his ceasefire in late-March and early-April. According to the report, government troops are responsible for killing civilians, burning hundreds of houses, detaining and torturing people, and carrying out summary executions. In addition, a recently released Amnesty International report that collected information during the second-half of April found similar tales of extrajudicial executions, burning houses with people inside, and burning people in piles in the street.
According to Amnesty’s Donatella Rovera: “Such abuses constitute crimes against humanity and the [soldier’s] claim that ‘I was just carrying out orders’ will not keep them from being brought to justice – either in Syria or in other countries around the world.”
Indeed, in light of these horrifying accounts, Annan’s assertion that his plan “is on track” is nothing short of absurd. Unfortunately, with plans like Annan’s, there’s reason to fear that the Syrian regime and its soldiers will not be brought to justice anytime soon.