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Syria Says Revolt Over Even as Fighting, Negotiations Continue
April 1, 2012

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The Syrian government is insisting that the revolt is over, even as its troops and tanks remain in the country's major cities and the shooting hasn't stopped.

Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is again in Damascus, attempting to bring an end to the yearlong conflict. Both the government and the opposition have said that they want a cease-fire, but neither side has showed willingness to abide by such an agreement, with spokesman for both sides promising to stop shooting once the other side does.

Syrian troops continued to shell "troublesome" neighborhoods in Homs, the country's third-largest city and a hotbed of opposition to the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Government troops greeted protests in several cities, including Damascus, with gunfire.

Annan has offered a six-point peace plan that doesn't include a demand for Assad to step down as president. Assad has endorsed the peace plan, but opposition leaders have refused to sign on, insisting that Assad must go. The Syrian opposition is not alone in that wish: Leaders of several other nations have called for Assad to leave peacefully. Some nations, most notably the Arab League, have introduced sanctions against Syria. Saudi Arabia has suggested that other countries send weapons to the opposition. Other countries have so far not taken that step, although several Western nations have agreed to send "non-lethal aid."

The government has much more organization and military equipment than the opposition, which remains fractured. Efforts are underway to get the opposition to coalesce around the Free Syrian Army, but such efforts have been underway for several months. Despite the high-profile defection of a considerable number of troops and security forces, the opposition remains on the periphery and unable to defend unarmed civilians.

The death toll in the yearlong revolt, according to U.N. observers, has passed 9,000. The Syrian government lists its military death toll at 3,000.



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