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World powers agree on Syria transition plan: Annan

World powers agreed Saturday on a power transition plan for strife-hit Syria. Yet at least 21 people were killed in fighting across Syria on Sunday, a watchdog said

  • A fire burns after a shelling at Juret Al Shayah in Homs city July 1, 2012. Image Credit: Reuters
  • UN-Arab League special envoy and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan gives a press conference on June 30, 2Image Credit: AFP

Geneva:  World powers agreed a Syria transition plan Saturday with a unity government to include members of the present administration, although envoy Kofi Annan said he doubted Syrians would "select people with blood on their hands".

A crunch meeting in Geneva agreed that the transitional government "could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent," Annan said.

21 killed in clashes across Syria: NGO

Yet as negotiations continued, at least 21 people were killed in fighting across Syria on Sunday, a watchdog said, with rebels and regime troops clashing in several provinces as they battled for control of restive areas.

Regime forces shelled several areas of Damascus province, a day after mortar fire killed at least 30 civilians attending a funeral in the town of Zamalka, 10 kilometres (six miles) east of the capital, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Britain-based watchdog said troops shelled the town of Daraya during the night, killing four people, adding that several blasts were heard in Damascus itself, without elaborating on casualties there.

A civilian and a rebel fighter were killed in Al-Tal and Douma in Damascus province, both sites of clashes, the Observatory said.

The army reportedly staged a bloody attack on Douma on Saturday.

In the central province of Hama, regime forces shot dead five people, the monitoring group said.

Activists in Hama told AFP that regime forces shelled the Halfaya suburb, while grassroots opposition network the Local Coordination Committees said the army was using helicopters to attack the area.

Meanwhile the army continued to shell several besieged neighbourhoods of the central city of Homs, according to activists, with the Observatory saying several buildings in the Jourat al-Shiah neighbourhood were destroyed, leading to at least one death.

Rebels and regime forces clashed in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, where one rebel fighter and a civilian were killed, the Observatory added.

The northern province of Aleppo saw continued fighting too, where "regime forces withdrew from the village of Atarib," the monitoring group said. A rebel fighter was killed in clashes in the same province, while a young detainee died under torture by regime forces, it added.

The village is situated near Idlib province, where three civilians were reportedly killed. Much of the northwestern border province is under rebel control.

Three people were also killed in the southern province of Daraa, cradle of the uprising, including two young girls, according to the Observatory.

At least 120 people were killed across Syria on Saturday, the group said earlier, revising up a previous toll of 83.

Future of Bashar Al Assad

Asked what the transition plan spelled for President Bashar Al Assad, Annan said: "The document makes it clear that we have provided guidelines and principles to assist the Syrian parties as they move ahead with the transition and establish a transition government and go through changes required.

The future of Assad "will be left to them."

Pressed if members from the regime who have engaged in repression would be part of the interim government, he said: "People with blood on their hands are hopefully not the only Syrians.

"I would doubt that Syrians... would select people with blood on their hands to lead them."

Deal paves way for post-Assad Syria: Clinton

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday said a deal reached between world powers in Geneva would pave the way for the end of the President Bashar Al Assad's regime.

"Assad will still have to go," Clinton said after members of the UN Security Council and Syria's neighbours agreed on a deal.

Transition plan to be decided by all Syrian parties: Russia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed Saturday that any power transition in Syria would be decided by Syrians and that no party should be excluded from the process.

"How exactly the work on a transition to a new stage is conducted will be decided by the Syrians themselves," he said, adding that Russia had convinced other world powers that it would be "unacceptable" to exclude any party from the transition process.

Power transition plan must be accepted by Syrians: China


Any power transition plan for Syria must be accepted by Syrians and not dictated by external powers, China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said on Saturday after talks in Geneva.

"A plan of political settlement on the Syrian issue can only be Syrian-led and acceptable to relevant parties in Syria. Outsiders cannot make decisions for the Syrian people," he said.