Syria: Kofi Annan’s call for talks rejected

The Syrian opposition has angrily rejected calls on Friday from Kofi Annan to hold talks with the Assad regime, said the BBC.

Burhan Ghalioun, the head of the Syrian National Council, spoke to the Associated Press and said Annan had disappointed the Syrian people.

Annan, who was appointed the the United Nations and Arab League envoy to Syria, said his mission was to start the "political process" to resolve the conflict, stating, "I hope that no one is thinking very seriously of using force in this situation. I believe any further militarization would make the situation worse."

Reacting to these statements from Paris, Ghalioun said, "These kind of comments are disappointing and do not give a lot of hope for people in Syria being massacred every day. It feels like we are watching the same movie being repeated over and over again.

"Any political solution will not succeed if it is not accompanied by military pressure on the regime."

Mohammad Saeed, an activist, said, "Between us and Bashar Assad are the bodies of 5,000 martyrs. We can't hear each other even if we wanted to. What dialogue are they talking about?"

Reuters reported that at least 31 people have been killed in Syria on Friday, ahead of a visit by Annan. Tank rounds and mortar bombs aimed at districts held by the opposition in Homs killed 17, while the other 14 deaths happened elsewhere.

The latest reported defections were two Syrian generals, a colonel and two sergeants, according to the AP which cited a Turkish official. The seniority of rank makes these defections more significant than the low level conscripts who have defected so far.

More on GlobalPost: Syria: 4 generals defect to opposition as desertions gather pace

European foreign ministers said that sanctions against Syria appeared to be working, with the high level defections showing a weakening in Assad's regime. Meeting in Copenhagen, they once again called on Russia and China to condemn the Assad regime's actions, according to the AP.

France stated on Friday that it cannot accept a UN Security Council resolution that would assign equal responsibility to the Syrian government and its opposition for the violence, according to Reuters.

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said, "We do not want a resolution that sends the wrong message because there is no equivalence between the savage repression that Bashar al-Assad's clan has perpetuated for months and the legitimate desire of the Syrian people for the respect of their rights."

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UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said the Syrian government had agreed to a "limited assessment" of the situation on Friday. Amos has been touring camps on the Turkish-Syrian border, according to the BBC, to witness the conditions that 11,000 Syrian refugees are living in.

Opposition activists, in the meantime, fear that Syrian troops are preparing to bombard the Idlib province, similar to what happened in Homs.

More on GlobalPost: Has Israel's regional isolation helped protect its economy?

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