Kofi Annan due to arrive in Syria
Press TV- UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan is due to arrive in the Syrian capital, Damascus, following the recent deadly clashes between security forces and armed gangs in the western town of Houla.
A Syrian official said on condition of anonymity that Annan will arrive in Damascus on Monday and will meet Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem.
“Then he will be received by President [Bashar] Assad on Tuesday.”
Annan had visited Damascus and met with the Syrian president and other senior officials in March.
The Monday visit by the former UN chief comes three days after deadly clashes broke out on May 25 between Syrian forces and armed groups in Houla, located in the central province of Homs and about 32 kilometers (20 miles) northwest of the provincial capital city of Homs.
Head of the UN observer mission in Syria Major General Robert Mood said in a briefing via video from Damascus to an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Sunday that UN observers in Houla estimate 108 people were killed, including 49 children and 34 women.
Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jihad Makdissi said a few hours before the Security Council meeting that Damascus “completely” denies responsibility for “this terrorist massacre against our people.”
“We have set up a military and legal committee to investigate [the incident]. The results will emerge within days.”
The UN Security Council condemned the violence in Houla during the emergency meeting on Sunday, saying the clashes “involved a series of government artillery and tank shelling on a residential neighborhood.”
However, Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Ja’afari censured the “tsunami of lies” by some members of the Security Council and said the Syrian forces were not to blame for the violence.
Ja’afari also stated that the accusations against Damascus were “really pitiful and regrettable.”
The fighting between Syrian forces and armed groups in Houla comes despite a ceasefire that took effect on April 12.
Reports say about 280 UN observers are currently monitoring the ceasefire, which was part of a six-point peace plan brokered by Annan in March.