'Annan, this is your ceasefire'

The sarcasm is probably lost on the former UN Secretary General who negotiated a cease fire agreement that is supposed to take effect today, but isn't even close to becoming reality given President Assad's continued assaults on civilians.


At least 12 people were killed on Wednesday, activists said.

Western powers have scorned President Bashar al-Assad's truce pledges to the United Nations-Arab League mediator, but so far lack an effective policy to curb the bloodshed, given their own aversion to military intervention and the resistance of Russia and China to any U.N. Security Council action.

"Far from fulfilling their commitment, the regime has cynically exploited the window of diplomatic negotiations to crack down even harder on its own people," British Prime Minister David Cameron said during a visit to Indonesia.

He said Annan had reported that Assad's troops were "conducting roving military operations in population centers supported by artillery fire". An estimated 1,000 people had been killed in the past week, Cameron said.

With all hostilities with rebels supposed to end at dawn on Thursday, activist videos posted on YouTube showed bombs crashing into the Khalidiya district of Homs.

Spouts of pulverized debris burst high into the air with each impact and plumes of dust and smoke drifted over the rooftops. The videos could not be verified and the Syrian government bars most independent media from the country.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a British-based activist information organization, said three people were killed Homs and shelling that went on for an hour killed a man, woman and child in Qusair near the border with Lebanon and three were killed outside Damascus.

"Mortar fire started at 7 this morning. I can hear one explosion every five minutes," said activist Waleed al-Fares in Homs, where bombardment killed at least 26 people on Tuesday.

There's a chance that Annan will move the goalposts for Assad and push back the cease fire deadline, but why bother? Neither side will stop firing until someone forces them to. And since that prospect isn't in the offing, the fighting will continue indefinitely.