By Talal Alhaj
By Talal Alhaj
May 25, 2012
As U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan is preparing to return to Syria “soon” for talks on boosting his stumbling peace plan for the conflict-stricken country, the U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon submitted a letter to the Security Council on the progress of the international envoy’s plan in Syria, scheduled to be discussed by the council on Wednesday.
Annan is supposed to head to Syria on Wednesday, May 30th, reliable sources in New York told Al Arabiya.
The U.N. chief said in the letter, obtained by Al Arabiya, that the “situation in Syria remains extremely serious” and that only small progress has been accomplished.
“There is a continuing crisis on the ground, characterized by regular violence, deteriorating humanitarian conditions, human rights violations and continued political confrontation,” the letter said, pointing out to the large number of deaths and injuries resulting from daily violent incidents across the country.
However, the U.N. chief pointed out that the scale of violence has decreased compared to the period before April 12, when Annan’s plan was implemented.
“The Syrian army has not ceased the use of, or pulled back their heavy weapons in many areas,” the letter said.
Ki-moon’s letter pointed out to the “considerable physical destruction resulting from conflict in many locations, with some opposition areas heavily damaged.” “Significant parts of some cities appear to be under the de facto control of opposition elements.”
The letter also referred to the “deployment of heavy weapons” and “troop concentration in population centers” especially in Damascus and Deraa.
The U.N. chief’s letter underlined the importance of providing urgent humanitarian relief to all who are in need in all areas affected by the fighting.
Annan is expected to brief the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday on his efforts to end the conflict.
Annan’s spokesman, Ahmed Fawzi, said only that the special envoy will travel to Syria “soon” to continue efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.
Annan went to Damascus on March 10-11 to meet Assad who later agreed a six-point peace plan.
The visit comes amid growing pressure from the international powers for a new diplomatic push on the Syria crisis.
Ban is expected to travel to Turkey on Wednesday for talks with Prime Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees are now in Turkey, which has taken a strong line against Assad. Ban is also expected to visit Saudi Arabia.
Syrian activists say more than 12,600 people have been killed in Syria since a revolt against Assad started in March last year. The U.N. says up to 10,000 have been killed.
Western powers are uncertain whether they want to extend the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) after its first 90-day mandate ends in July.