Kofi Annan due in Damascus to meet Assad


International mediator Kofi Annan will fly to Damascus for talks with the Syrian government, a Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman said, a day after the U.N. Security Council condemned the killing of 108 people in the town of Houla.

Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi confirmed in an email that Annan would hold talks with Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem on Monday ahead of talks with President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday.

Annan brokered a ceasefire agreement last month which was aimed at stemming the violence in Syria after a year of protests against Assad and starting a process of political negotiations, Reuters reports.

But hundreds of people have been reported killed since the truce was supposed to come into effect on April 12.

On Sunday, the United Nations unanimously condemned the killing of at least 108 people, including many children, in Houla, a sign of mounting outrage at the massacre that the government and rebels blamed on each other.

Western and Arab states opposed to Assad put the blame for the deaths squarely on the government, but Damascus rejected the charge and blamed “armed terrorist groups” for the bloodshed.

Russia and China condemned the violence but stopped short of blaming Assad’s forces for the killings.