Syrian rebels killed 80 government soldiers this weekend, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said today, after the regime ignored its Friday deadline to implement Kofi Annan's peace plan. A rebel spokesman told Reuters that they had "decided to end our commitment" to Annan's plan. "We began defending our people." He said the UN observation mission in the country should become a "peace enforcing mission." At least 19 civilians were killed in yesterday's violence, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Bashar al-Assad further clouded hopes of peace in his defiant speech yesterday. "When a surgeon performs an operation to treat a wound, do we say to him: 'Your hands are covered in blood'? Or do we thank him for saving the patient?" the dictator asked. One analyst tells Reuters that "the Annan mission is essentially dead," and that most Western powers know it. Yet Vladimir Putin and EU leaders emerged from a summit in St. Petersburg saying that the Annan plan was the best way forward, the BBC reports.