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Syria 'peace plan' rejected... by both sides

Tensions in the region are high after Turkey scrambled fighter jets to the border yesterday.

Free Syrian Army fighters in Damascus
Free Syrian Army fighters in Damascus
Image: Anonymous/AP/Press Association Images

AN INTERNATIONAL PLAN for a transition in strife-torn Syria has been branded a failure by both opposition groups and the country’s state-backed media.

World powers meeting in Geneva on Saturday agreed a plan for a transition government which could include current regime members, as the death toll for a weekend of violence topped 160.

Western countries have insisted there is no role for President Bashar al-Assad in a new unity government, but Russia and China insisted that Syrians themselves must decide how the transition takes place.

The final agreement that did not make any explicit call for Assad to cede power.

Official Syrian media slammed the outcome. The meeting “failed,” trumpeted the ruling party’s Al-Baath newspaper.

Meanwhile, the opposition Syrian National Council said it had expected “more serious and effective action” to emerge from the Geneva talks and reiterated that Assad must quit power.

“The Syrian National Council affirms that no initiative can be accepted by the Syrian people unless it clearly calls on Bashar al-Assad and the tyrants around him to step down,” it said.

Burhan Ghalioun, a top SNC member and former head, branded as a “mockery” the notion that Syrians should negotiate with “their executioner, who has not stopped killing, torturing… and raping women for 16 months.”

Opposition groups are to hold a two-day meeting in Cairo from Monday and are also expected to hold talks on Tuesday with Arab ministers in a bid to agree on a shared platform, Egyptian media and the Arab League said.

Syria’s neighbour Turkey, which attended the Geneva talks, scrambled fighter jets after Syrian helicopters flew close to its border, the army said on Sunday, hiking tensions following last month’s downing of a Turkish plane.

- © AFP, 2012

Read: Turkey scrambles fighter jets to Syrian border>

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