The suffering Syrian people have to deal with yet more broken promises from their government, as hundreds of people died in savage violence this week, despite the government having supposedly agreed to a peace deal brokered by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and supported by the UN Security Council.

From 6 this morning all forms of violence were supposed to have stopped in Syria, but this is clearly not happening. Monday was one of the bloodiest days of the whole uprising, with more than 100 Syrians killed. On Tuesday, when Syrian troops were supposed to start withdrawing from cities, the army redeployed to areas that it had previously left. Sporadic shooting continued all through Wednesday, making today's deadline for cessation of violence look increasingly ludicrous.

However, the international community is coming to a consensus that it cannot simply sit and watch the Syrian government murder hundreds of its own people without doing anything. Yesterday Annan visited Iran, where the government supported the plan, which was important as the Ahmadinejad regime is one of Bashar Al Assad's last remaining allies. In addition, China has now backed the plan and has urged both sides in the conflict to honour the peace deal. Russia has been a close ally of Syria and it has also supported the Annan plan.

However, a weakness of the Annan plan is that it assumes that the Al Assad regime is genuine and will want to work with the plan. This has not been the case in the last few months, and it is all too likely that Bashar Al Assad will try to avoid any real climb down. But Annan has to insist that his plan has a chance, which is why he has strongly criticised Saudi and Qatari support for giving arms to the rebels.