UN envoy Kofi Annan arrived in Syria on Saturday to push for an end to the country’s yearlong conflict and deliver a message to Syrian president Bashar Assad that all violence must stop.
But the high-profile international mission to end the crisis stumbled even before it began as the opposition rejected Annan’s calls for dialogue with the regime as pointless and out of touch after a year of bloodshed.
The dispute exposes the widening gap between opposition leaders who say only military aid can stop president Bashar Assad’s regime and Western powers who fear more weapons will exacerbate the conflict.
Annan’s visit marks a new international push for peace nearly a year after protesters took to the streets to demand Assad’s ouster, inspired by Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. Since then the regime has dispatched snipers tanks and civilian gunmen to crush dissent.