GENEVA — Satellite imagery and other credible reports show that, despite its claims, Syria has not withdrawn all its heavy weapons from populated areas as required by a cease-fire deal, international envoy Kofi Annan’s spokesman said Tuesday.
Annan, who was giving a speech in Sweden and briefing the U.N. Security Council in New York, called on the Syrian government to fully implement its commitments under the truce, spokesman Ahmad Fawzi was quoted by the U.N. as saying in Geneva.
“This means withdrawal of all heavy armory (weapons) from population centers and (sending them) back to the barracks. They are claiming that this has happened. Satellite imagery, however, and credible reports show that this has not fully happened,” Fawzi said.
Annan also has become aware that U.N. cease-fire monitors are met with brief lulls of violence when they enter conflict areas in Syria, Fawzi said.
He further said there are credible reports “that these people who approach the observers may be approached by security forces or Syrian army and harassed or arrested or even worse, perhaps killed.”
After first posting an incomplete version of Fawzi’s comments, the U.N. quickly sent out a “corrected” version that omitted mention of Syrian forces harassing and perhaps killing people who speak to the monitors, a sign of the sensitivity of his statement.
Fawzi retracted that corrected version after The Associated Press reviewed the U.N. footage for accuracy in his statement.
Fawzi called it “totally unacceptable” that people might be targeted for speaking with U.N. truce monitors.