WESTERN powers are drawing up a fresh resolution for the United Nations Security Council in an attempt to rescue Kofi Annan's peace plan for Syria, as France demands it be made legally binding on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said his country wanted a resolution under the UN's Chapter VII provision that would enforce the six-point Annan plan with the threat of sanctions, legal action or even military intervention.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague was last night scheduled to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to appeal for help in setting up an international contact group to rescue the Annan plan without involving Syria's closest ally, Iran.Advertisement: Story continues below''President Assad, even if he was given a free hand to commit terrible crimes, is not going to get back on top of the situation,'' Mr Hague said.''Therefore, it is not a choice between the Annan plan on the one hand and the Assad regime consolidating itself on the other. It's a choice between the Annan plan … or a situation of increasing chaos.''
Russia and China have so far refused to countenance any UN-backed sanctions against Syria, and accusations from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Russia was supplying the regime with attack helicopters appear to have fizzled - they may simply have been returned to Syria after maintenance.Meanwhile, after the Free Syrian Army's withdrawal from the northern town of al-Heffa, Turkey said 2500 Syrian refugees had crossed its border nearby in just two days.A searing report, due to be released today by Amnesty International - which had a researcher travelling incognito in Syria for two months - described a pattern of indiscriminate violence inflicted in opposition areas. ''Soldiers and militias burned down homes and properties and fired indiscriminately into residential areas, killing and injuring civilian bystanders,'' the report says.