UN Backs Annan on Syria, Violence Spills Over Into Lebanon

Islamist Groups Look to Gain More Influence Over Rebellion

Russia and China today joined the rest of the United Nations Security Council in endorsing former UN chief Kofi Annan’s plan for a negotiated settlement in Syria. The statement was agreed upon after Russia managed to get a number of ultimatums from the initial French proposal removed.

Since he became the special UN envoy to Syria, Annan has managed to put considerable momentum behind negotiation, a major shift from a number of Western nations who were demanding military intervention. So far, however, the Assad regime has offered only tepid support for the deal and several rebel factions have rejected the notion of negotiation on general principle.

In a sign that’s probably not going to change, a number of Islamist factions are seen to have gained considerable influence within the Free Syrian Army (FSA), with an eye toward turning it from a straight-forward rebel army for a civil war into an open-ended insurgency.

Meanwhile, violence continued today, with opposition claiming a number of civilians killed in Homs. The clashes also appear to have spanned across the border into Lebanon, as several shells hit the border village of al-Qaa, injuring one. Al-Qaa has been a popular location for Syrian rebel factions, as well as refugees fleeing the fighting.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.