Just days after the Syrian massacre of men, women and children that has sparked widespread condemnation, the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States Kofi Annan finally arrived in Damascus for talks with senior leaders, particularly President Bashar al-Assad and range of other actors.
On his visit to Damascus, Mr. Annan said he came to Syria at a critical moment in the crisis.
The visit by Kofi Annan to Damascus reportedly comes on the heels of the killings of over 100 civilians, including over 30 children under the age of 10, in the village of Houla two days ago.
Mr. Annan said in a statement issued to the press on his arrival, adding that he is “shocked and horrified” by the tragic incident in Houla.
“This was an appalling crime, and the Security Council has rightly condemned it.” -Mr. Annan
The killings have also been strongly condemned by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the head of UNSMIS, General Robert Mood, and a host of UN officials.
Mr. Annan urges the Government to take bold steps to signal that it is serious in its intention to resolve this crisis peacefully, and for everyone involved to help create the right context for a credible political process.
Mr. Annan noted he intends to have “serious and frank” discussions with Mr. al-Assad.
“And this message of peace is not only for the Government, but for everyone with a gun.” -Mr. Annan
The envoy also stressed the need to implement the six-point plan that he put forward a few months ago.
Last week, massacre in Syria’s Houla village in the early hours of 26th of May has reportedly killed 108 civilians, including over 30 children.
Reports say artillery and tank shells were fired in the Syrian village killing hundreds of civilians.
The violence took place in and around the town of Houla, near Homs, after an anti-government protest.
The Security Council voiced condemnation of the recent massacre of men, women and children inHoula.
In addition, the United States of America also expressed condemnation in the massacre in the Syrian village of Haoula.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the United Nations observers have confirmed that dozens of men, women, and children were killed and hundreds more wounded in a vicious assault that involved a regime artillery and tank barrage on a residential neighborhood.
She stressed that those who perpetrated this atrocity must be identified and held to account.
And the United States will work with the international community to intensify our pressure on Asad and his cronies, whose rule by murder and fear must come to an end, she added.
The violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 as a protest movement similar to those witnessed across the Middle East and North Africa, has claimed over 9,000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands.