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Annan & Syria Crisis
Annan & Syria Crisis

Syria opposition, activists hit out at Annan

(DP-News - AFP)

Syria's opposition in exile and activists on the ground have hit out at international envoy Kofi Annan, accusing him of treating the victim and aggressor in the country's brutal conflict on the same terms.

They also lashed out at the UN-Arab League envoy for seeking to placate President Bashar al-Assad's ally Iran.


More than four months on from his appointment, Annan has proved powerless to end the violence that monitors say has cost 17,000 lives, mostly civilians, since the anti-Assad uprising broke out in March 2011, as first with peaceful protests.





"People are outraged, and it is clear that the envoy is biased," opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) member Bashar al-Haraki told AFP. "What has he achieved? Nothing except blood."



"We were shocked when he said Iran had to be involved, when Iran is an accomplice to the murders," he said. "Iran has provided experts to monitor communications from the start of the revolt, and later they sent fighters."



Iran, the Islamic republic, has long been a close ally of the Damascus regime, especially after Syria became the only Arab state to support Iran in its 1980-1988 war against Iraq.



After meeting with President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Monday, Annan said: "We agreed an approach which I will share with the armed opposition," angering activists on the ground.



"Annan talks about the 'armed opposition' - whereas it's the mafia regime attacking the people," a Damascus-based activist who identified himself as Ahmed al-Khatib told AFP via Skype.

"We took to the streets with olives and flowers but reality forced us to take up arms. It's impossible to demand that the people hand over weapons now," he added.



"The international community is split - so what is the use of Annan?" said Khatib.

"Even the least political aspect of Annan's plan - humanitarian assistance - has not been in any way implemented, and there are people in some areas of Syria living in conditions worse than the Stone Age."



Annan brokered a six-point peace plan in March calling for an inclusive political process, a ceasefire, humanitarian assistance, release of arbitrarily detained persons, freedom of movement for journalists, and to allow peaceful demonstrations.



He has since become the butt of cruel jokes circulating on activists' Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.

One Tweet by @Syria7ra described Annan as the "Russian-Iranian envoy for the protection of Bashar," while another proposed that next Friday's weekly protests be held under the slogan: "Annan, go home."



On Facebook, a Homs-based activist quipped: "So, the armed men hand over their weapons and his Excellency … pardons them, and they negotiate, and they all live happily ever after under one roof.”

"They will wash their ketchup-stained hands, and the actors who played the role of martyrs get up and the performance that was the Syrian revolution comes to an end. This is Annan's dream."



An activist based in the central city of Hama told AFP via Skype: "As far as the Syrians are concerned, Annan is finished. He is nobody. He doesn't even deserve that we dedicate posters or slogans to him."



Referring to his past role as UN secretary general, the activist named Abu Ghazi said: "When we first heard that Annan had been appointed, we were upset because we know he has a bad history in Rwanda, Iraq and other countries."

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