Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with former U.N. chief Kofi Annan on Friday to discuss how to salvage his faltering plan to end more than a year of deadly violence in Syria.
Amid new reports of massacres and military operations against rebel-held areas in the flashpoint central city of Homs, Clinton and Annan said they would explore ways to further pressure Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime to comply with the plan or find alternative ideas to stop the killing.
Clinton told reporters ahead of the meeting that she and Annan would look at "how to engender greater response by the government of Syria to the six-point plan that he has put forth." Annan's plan calls for an end to violence followed by a political transition. Although Assad agreed to it, the violence has continued unabated with reports of brutal massacres against innocents.
Annan allowed that some people "say the plan is definitely dead" and that it might need to be revisited. "Is the problem the plan, or the problem is implementation?" he asked in a rhetorical question. "If it's implementation, how do we get action on that? And if it's the plan, what other options do we have?"
On Thursday, Annan briefed the U.N. on developments and warned that "if things do not change, the future is likely to be one of brutal repression, massacres, sectarian violence, and even all-out civil war. All Syrians will lose," he said.
U.N. diplomats say Annan is proposing that world powers and key regional players, including Iran, come up with a new strategy to end the 15-month conflict.
The Clinton-Annan meeting came as Syrian troops shelled a rebel-held neighborhood in the flashpoint central city of Homs. Activists say the military appeared to be readying to storm the area two days after reports of mass killing in the nearby province of Hama, where about 80 people, including women and children, were shot or stabbed.