Annan: 'All-out civil war' looms in Syria

Kofi Annan, the joint United Nations-Arab League envoy to Syria, has admitted that his peace plan is failing and that the country's future will consist of "brutal suppression, massacres, sectarian violence and even all-out civil war" if it continues on its current path.

In a speech to the UN General Assembly on Thursday, Annan confirmed that massacres of civilians have taken place in the towns of Houla and al-Qubayr. While not assigning blame for the mass killings, the former UN secretary general said that the government, not the armed opposition, had the "first responsibility" to halt violence.

"I must be frank and confirm that the [six-point peace] plan is not being implemented," he said.

The Qubayr killings occurred just days after Houla

He said that despite urging President Bashar al-Assad to "make a strategic decision to change his path," the government's shelling of cities had continued, and government-backed militias "seem to have free reign, with appalling consequences". 

"The international community has united, but it now must that that unity to a new level," Annan said. "It must be made clear that there will be consequences if compliance is not forthcoming."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, speaking before Annan, said UN monitors seeking to reach al-Qubayr on Thursday, the day after the massacre, came under fir... >>>

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