Syria's authoritarian regime has declared that the revolt against Bashar al-Assad's government is over. But then why did the government keep shelling opposition areas today? Understandably, the rebels aren't laying down arms at this point. Saudi Arabia is urging that the Free Syrian Army be armed even more. The international community is urging former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to have a plan B in mind should a ceasefire not result from his peacemaking mission. The killing, after all, continues, with the Local Coordination Committees reporting 51 deaths as anti-government rallies have erupted once more.
Syria also said it would keep its forces in cities to "maintain security" until it is safe to withdraw in line with the peace deal, which Assad has said he accepts.
Annan's plan says the army must stop violence immediately and be the first to withdraw forces.
"We cannot accept the presence of tanks and troops in armored vehicles among the people," a spokesman for Free Syrian Army commanders inside Syria said.
"We don't have a problem with the ceasefire. As soon as they remove their armored vehicles, the Free Syrian Army will not fire a single shot," Lieutenant Colonel Qassim Saad al-Din told Reuters by telephone from Homs.
A rebel officer in Damascus said separately: "When Assad's gangs stop the shelling and killing of civilians, then our leaders can issue an order to stop operations and we will commit to it to show our good intentions."
The opposition reported today that among the dead, five bodies were recovered bearing signs of torture.
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