Geneva - Syria has told international mediator Kofi Annan that it will halt all fighting by a dawn deadline on Thursday but reserves the right to respond to any attack by “armed terrorist groups”, the peace envoy's spokesman said on Wednesday.
He also stressed that Annan's peace plan required Syrian armed forces to withdraw from urban areas - something a televised government statement did not mention.
Spokesman Ahmad Fawzi, in a statement, quoted a letter from the Syrian Foreign Ministry which gave an undertaking “'to cease all military fighting throughout Syrian territory as of 6 a.m. (0300 GMT) tomorrow, Thursday, 12 April 2012, while reserving the right to respond proportionately to any attacks carried out by armed terrorist groups against civilians, government forces or public and private property'.”
Annan, special envoy of the United Nations and Arab League, said he would continue to work with the Syrian government and opposition to ensure complete implementation of his six-point peace plan, including “item 2”, the statement said.
“Item 2” commits the Syrian government to withdrawing military forces from population centres, not just stopping the fighting. State television, reporting a government pledge to cease fire, made no mention of it pulling back troops.