Syria to withdraw troops from populated areas by 10 April

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The Syrian government has committed itself to withdraw all military forces from population centres and stop the use of heavy weapons by April 10.

That's what the President of the Security Council

family of Syrian refugees arrive in Lebanon: UNHCR

 in April, Ambassador Susan Rice of the United States told reporters after a briefing of the Council by the Joint United Nations -Arab League Envoy, Kofi Annan on Monday.

Mr. Annan told a closed meeting of the Security Council by video teleconference that in his discussion with the Syrian authorities, he emphasized the urgency of the situation.

He pressed the government to cease troop movements, stop the use of heavy weapons and pull out of populated areas.

Ambassador Rice said Mr. Annan reported that he received a letter from the Syrian Foreign Minister on Sunday saying the government would take that action immediately.

"Mr. Annan said he wished that he had this confirmation of action sooner, in other words, that the April 10 deadline ideally would have been earlier than it is but he urged the government of Syria to start immediately and to ensure that forces move no further into population centres and, as he related, that commitment was provided by the Syrian authorities. Mr. Annan reported that he is expecting details from the Syrian government very shortly on the other aspects of his 6-point plan."

Duration: 28"

These aspects include a two-hour daily pause in hostilities to allow humanitarian assistance to the people in need, access for the media and the political process to resolve the crisis in Syria.

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