Syria’s embattled President Bashar al-Assad issued an announcement on Tuesday setting May 7 as the date for parliamentary elections, according to state news agency SANA. The elections will be held under the new Constitution, approved by referendum last February. The opposition denounced the new Constitution as illegal and did not participate in elections.
The announcement came after international mediator Kofi Annan said he would be expecting a response from the Syrian regime on proposals he presented in an effort to end the ongoing crisis in the country. “I am expecting to hear from Syrian authorities today since I left some concrete proposals for them to consider,” the United Nations-Arab League envoy had told reporters in Ankara after meeting with the Syrian opposition.
The talks held between Kofi Annan and Bashar al-Assad in Syria did not reach a conclusion. “The crisis in Syria has reached a turning point,” said opposition leader Burhan Galioun told Kofi Annan with whom he dicscussed in Turkey.
On Monday, Annan held talks with Turkish Prime Minister. After they admitted that the diplomatic process will take time, saying that the situation in Syria is “complex.”
At the same time, the Chinese envoy to Syria Zhang Ming said that there is “great concentration” between his country and Arab countries for a “political solution” to the crisis.
At the same time, a report that has caused international community’s reaction is Syrian Human Rights Watch report that the regime places landmines near its borders with Lebanon and Turkey, along routes used by refugees to flee the country.
The organization based in New York announced that it has received many reports about the existence of minefields by eyewitnesses and people who neutralize mines.
The official UN figures indicate that more than 8,000 people have lost their lives in the country since the beginning of anti-government demonstrations before about a year.
Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that some 30,000 Syrians have fled to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, while another 200,000 had been displaced inside the country, quoting Syrian Red Crescent data.