Syria Accepts Kofi Annan's Peace Plan to End Violence

U.N. and Arab League crisis envoy to Syria Kofi Annan announced Tuesday that Syria has accepted a U.N. ceasefire proposal to end violence in the country.

Annan made the announcement while in Beijing.

"I indicated that I had received a response from the Syrian government and will be making it public today, which is positive, and we hope to work with them to translate it into action," Annan told reporters.

"I have a six-point plan which the Security Council has endorsed, dealing with issues of political discussions, withdrawal of heavy weapons and troops from population centers, humanitarian assistance being allowed in unimpeded, release of prisoners, freedom of movement and access to journalists to go in and out," Annan added.

The announcement came as fighting between Syrian and rebel forces spilled across the border in Lebanon.

The former United Nations Secretary-General was named the U.N.-Arab League crisis envoy to Syria last month amid increased violence and militarization in the country.

The Ghanaian diplomat and former Nobel Peace Prize winner was appointed crisis envoy to Syria to promote a peaceful solution to the unrest through an "inclusive political solution that meets the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people though a comprehensive political dialogue between the government and the opposition."

Syria has been engulfed in violence since last March when peaceful protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's Ba'athist regime began. The government responded to protests by cracking down on protesters and neighborhoods suspected of supporting the opposition.

Thousands of civilian lives have been lost due to indiscriminate shelling, torture, and abuse and children have not been spared in the violence. The U.N. has estimated that over 8,000 lives have been lost in the yearlong violence.

Opposition forces have also been implicated in the violence but an independent U.N. human rights panel found that a majority of the violations in the country occurred at the hands of Assad's security forces.

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