Though again conceding that violations continue on both sides, UN Special Envoy Kofi Annan urged continuing support for his peace plan in Syria, saying it was possibly the “last chance to avoid war” and that Syria could quickly deteriorate if the ceasefire collapses.
Both sides of combatants in Syria have been hyping the violations by the other side, while downplaying their own. Violence is, however, down significantly since the ceasefire began last month, and monitors continue to deploy around the nation.
Efforts to get both sides to stop fighting have struggled particularly with Western support for the rebels continue to funnel into the country. The US again reported today that it is increasing the level of “aid” provided to the rebels. The US has insisted it is providing only “non-lethal” aid, but is also providing logistics help that would be used by the rebels in carrying out potential attacks. There is growing concern about rebel tactics, particularly the use of bombings in heavily populated areas.
The US was never really on board with the ceasefire, and that of course hasn’t changed. US ambassador Susan Rice today insisted that the US policy was to demand Assad’s unconditional ouster, and that they only support the “international efforts” to that end.
How much support the US can generate in the UN for the war remains to be seen. Though French President-elect Hollande has insisted that there was no policy change, outgoing President Sarkozy has been outspoken in demanding a war.
Even though officials say that what has been going on in Syria hasn’t risen to the level of a civil war yet, some are claiming nearly 12,000 people have been killed in the fighting, and the Red Cross today warned that some 1.5 million Syrians lack access to basic necessities because of the ongoing unrest.