By Alan Caruba
The UN and Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan, will not travel to Tehran next week, said Wednesday his spokesman, thus denying the statements by Iranian Foreign Minister. “He will be in Geneva later in the day and he goes anywhere else these days. He’s not going to visit Iran next Monday or next week,” his spokesman, Ahmad Fawzi told AFP.
In fact, Annan will speak next Monday to the UN Security Council via videoconference from Geneva, he said. This will be the second time that the UN envoy does so. Earlier Wednesday, the Iranian foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi had told the media that “Kofi Annan will travel to Tehran next week, probably Monday.” As the main regional ally of Syria, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday again backed the Syrian President Bashar Assad, while repression of the anti- government movement left at least 9,000 dead in Syria, according to the UN.
On the ground, the Syrian army intensified its operations Wednesday against insurgents across the country, raising skepticism about the approval by Damascus of Annan’s peace plan to end the crisis. This plan includes the cessation of all forms of armed violence by all parties under UN supervision, the provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting and the release of detained persons.
Meanwhile, Syrian activists Wednesday called for international humanitarian organizations to visit the town of Saraqeb in northern Syria, where security forces killed, according to them, more than 40 people over the past four days.
The local coordination committees have reported the presence of many unidentified bodies and wounded people in the streets of Saraqeb. They pointed out that the Syrian army on Sunday launched a major offensive against the city, spreading death and destruction.