Footage allegedly showing Syrian soldiers torturing a rebel soldier in the suburbs of Damascus was recently posted to YouTube. The video showed the Syrian soldiers beating the man lying on the floor with his hands tied behind his back.
The clip uncovered by AFP depicts two alleged Syrian soldiers dressed in military fatigues beating a man lying face-down on the dusty floor. They kick him and hit him repeatedly with a club and even stand on his neck and back. (See video above; Warning: Graphic content).
The video emerges at a time when recent heavy fighting is claimed to have led to 1,000 deaths. The UN peace deal brokered by Kofi Annan, due to take effect on Tuesday, appears to have failed after Bashar Assad's government said his forces will not withdraw from occupied cities until the rebels provide "written guarantees" that they will lay down their weapons. BBC reports Damascus issued the new demand 48 hours before the deadline for government troops to withdraw from towns and cities.
Al-Jazeera reports that Syrian Foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi, said reports that the government would pull its troops from cities and their suburbs by Tuesday were "wrong." According to Makdissi, Annan failed to submit to the Syrian government "written guarantees regarding the acceptance of armed terrorist groups to halt violence with all its forms and their readiness to lay down weapons."
The commander of the Rebel Free Army, Colonel Riad Al-Asaad, has rejected the demand. Al-Asaad said the Free Syrian Army does not recognize Assad's goverment and, therefore, cannot give guarantees. Al-Jazeera reports Colonel Riad al-Asaad said the FSA was committed to the UN-brokered peace plan but will give guarantees only to the international community. He told Al-Jazeera: "It is not a regime that is ruling the country. It's a criminal gang. So we will not give guarantees to it."
BBC reports that the anti-government group, the Syrian National Council, said the new demands were a ploy to scuttle the peace plan. But a Syrian foreign ministry spokesman said the government made the new demand because it did not want the rebels to take advantage of troop withdrawal to reorganize and rearm.
The Syrian government also demanded for assurances from Annan that Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia will stop financing and arming the rebels.
According to Makdissi, "Syria has a plan for military pullback already in place and being implemented, but completing and achieving the main goal would definitely require the guarantees from the other side and those supporting them."
Daily Mail reports Qatar and Saudi Arabia are reported to have created a multimillion pound fund to finance rebel fighters and Turkey suggested creating buffer zones for refugees in Syrian territory near the Turkish border.
Analysts had been pessimistic of the peace deal and the new development was not unexpected.