Syrian opposition leaders rejected the United Nations' call for engaging in a dialogue with President Bashar al-Assad's government, saying citizens can't afford delayed assistance while being massacred every day.
The opposition's comments came after U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan said he plans to offer a realistic proposal to the crisis. He didn't elaborate.
These kind of comments are disappointing and do not give a lot of hope for people in Syria being massacred every day, Burhan Ghalioun, the chairman of the Syrian National Council opposition party, told the Associated Press. The council has been recognized by a number of world leaders as an official representative of the Syrian people.
It feels like we are watching the same movie being repeated over and over again, Ghalioun added.
My fear is that, like other international envoys before him, the aim is to waste a month or two of pointless mediation efforts.
Since the Friends of Syria meeting last month in Tunisia, Ghalioun has been pleading with foreign powers to supply the rebel Free Syrian Army with arms so they can better protect citizens and combat Assad's forces.
Annan, a former U.N. Secretary General, however, has warned against militarization.
I hope that no one is thinking very seriously of using force in this situation, said Annan. I believe any further militarization would make the situation worse.
In February, leaders from about 70 countries met in Tunisia to discuss how to stop the violence in Syria that has left an estimated 8,000 people dead since Assad began his crackdown on government protestors last March.
The violence is centered in the city of Homs, which has been shelled by government troops every day for a month; however, there are reportedly also clashes in a number of other cities, including Damascus, where Annan is scheduled to meet with Assad this weekend.