Annan quits as Syria violence rages

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Annan quits as Syria violence rages

Annan quits as Syria violence ragesInternational envoy Kofi Annan is stepping down, UN chief Ban Ki-moon announced “with deep regret,” his April peace plan for Syria in tatters in the face of raging violence. Rebels shelled an air base used by regime forces to pound the northern city of Aleppo, as a human rights group reported that the bodies of 43 people had been recovered after a security force raid near Damascus.
The UN chief paid tribute to Annan for his efforts in the “most difficult” assignment of ending the bloodshed that human rights monitors say has claimed more than 20,000 lives in Syria since an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule erupted in March last year. But he said the former UN chief would now step down at the end of the month and the search had begun for a successor.
“I wish to express my deepest gratitude to Mr Annan for the determined and courageous efforts he has made as the Joint Special Envoy for Syria,” Ban said. “Kofi Annan deserves our profound admiration for the selfless way in which he has put his formidable skills and prestige to this most difficult and potentially thankless of assignments,” he added.
The UN and Arab League named Annan as its envoy on the Syria conflict on February 23 and he brokered a six-point peace plan that was supposed to begin with a ceasefire from April 12. But the truce never took hold and the United Nations has begun winding down an observer mission that was supposed to oversee it ahead of the expiry of its mandate later this month.