icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Peace first, then troop withdrawal – Syrian govt

Peace first, then troop withdrawal – Syrian govt
The Syrian government has said that it will not withdraw its troops from towns and cities across the conflict-torn country until “peace and security prevail.” Officials maintain that security forces are there to uphold security and protect civilians.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Jihad Makdessi told Syrian State television on Friday that the troops were stationed in a capacity of “self-defense and protecting civilians.” He emphasized that security was a Syrian matter and that the UN must recognize the sovereignty of the Syrian government.Furthermore, Makdessi said that the Syrian government was willing to cooperate with Koffi Annan’s peace plan to “remove all excuses” for possible international intervention. "The battle to topple the state is over. Our goal now is to ensure stability and create a perspective for reform and development in Syria while preventing others from sabotaging the path of reform," he stressed.The announcement came just hours after Annan’s spokesperson Ahmad Fawzi called for the government to be the first to cease the fighting as “a gesture of good faith.”“The deadline is now,” Fawzi said.Assad had said earlier that he would not call for a ceasefire until opposition rebel groups have laid down their arms. For their part, the Syrian opposition refuse to accept any resolution that does not stipulate Assad’s removal, claiming that his acceptance of Annan’s 6-point proposal is merely an attempt to draw out the conflict.Opposition activists in the country reported an escalation in violence in Syria on Friday, with violent clashes erupting in Damascus and the northern city of Idlib.Meanwhile, the international community is still searching for a solution that will bring the conflict to an end. The second summit of the so-called ‘Friends of Syria’ is scheduled for this Sunday and is aimed at encouraging the unification of disparate Syrian rebel groups so they can offer a viable alternative to the Assad regime. Ways to get humanitarian aid to the most violence-torn areas of the country will also be high on the agenda.The group was created with a view to bypassing the Russian and Chinese veto of previous Security Council resolutions that called for the removal of Assad. The uprisings against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have been raging for well over a year, with UN estimates putting the death toll at over 9,000 people.

Dear readers and commenters,

We have implemented a new engine for our comment section. We hope the transition goes smoothly for all of you. Unfortunately, the comments made before the change have been lost due to a technical problem. We are working on restoring them, and hoping to see you fill up the comment section with new ones. You should still be able to log in to comment using your social-media profiles, but if you signed up under an RT profile before, you are invited to create a new profile with the new commenting system.

Sorry for the inconvenience, and looking forward to your future comments,

RT Team.