Syria is just days away from its cease-fire deadline, but the regime sent tanks and troops into a Damascus suburb yesterday, escalating the conflict in defiance of the Kofi Annan-brokered peace plan. "Clearly the violence is still continuing at alarming levels," Annan told the UN General Assembly yesterday, according to the Wall Street Journal. "Military operations have not stopped." That pronouncement came after the UN Security Council officially gave its support to Annan's plan.
Annan said the government had assured him that, while it was stepping things up in Damascus, it was withdrawing troops from Idlib, Deraa, and Zabadan. But activists and residents say that's not true; in Idlib, for instance, they report that soldiers are still patrolling the streets, arresting military-aged men. The rebels haven't stopped fighting either, killing five soldiers yesterday. "Can we be optimistic? I am not," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said. "Because I think Bashar al-Assad is cheating us."