A month-long "ceasefire" in Syria, brokered by Kofi Annan, has led to what UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon described on Monday as a “totally unacceptable and intolerable situation”. Yet at a UN briefing yesterday, Annan called his peace plan the only remaining chance to stabilise the country – and no-one put forward any other ideas.
Almost an entire month after a truce was announced, attacks and bombings continue – last week saw the deadliest 24 hours since the plan came into effect, and today a bomb narrowly missed UN observers on their way to Deraa. Speaking yesterday to the UN Security Council, Annan warned that the world can’t wait forever for the ceasefire plan to work.
The council was also assured yesterday that the planned 300 observers will be on the ground to monitor the ceasefire by the end of this month. But how long is too long to wait? And will the UN observers’ "calming effect in some situations", to use Annan's farcically hedged language, be enough?
Further reading: What next? Here are some possible alternatives to the peace plan.