Syria Deadline: Partial Withdrawal, But Fighting Continues

Annan Spurns Western Calls to Abandon Ceasefire

The first of two key Syrian deadlines came and went this morning, and while the Syrian government has reported partial completion of its pledge to withdraw heavy forces from population centers the fighting continues.

Western officials are already spinning this as “defiance” of the ceasefire, even though technically the ceasefire isn’t scheduled to begin until Thursday morning. It is clear, however, that both sides continue to launch attacks, albeit at a somewhat reduced level, and the plan is in serious doubt.

UN Special Envoy Kofi Annan, however, spurned Western calls to declare his peace initiative dead, asking “if you want to take the plan off the table, what will you replace it with?” The answer of course is civil war, with Gulf nations looking even more aggressively at plans to smuggle weapons into the nation to prop up their own favored rebel factions.

The White House was mum on exactly what measures the US will look to take next, but seem keen on getting some sort of UN Security Council resolution to support intervention in the country. Both Russia and China are still opposed to this, however, and would almost certainly veto such a resolution.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.