Syria wants guarantees to pull troops from cities



BEIRUT (AP) — Syria’s Foreign Ministry says the government will not withdraw its troops from cities without written guarantees from armed groups that they will also lay down their weapons.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdessi says earlier statements that Damascus will pull its troops from cities and their suburbs by Tuesday “is a wrong explanation.”

Makdessi said in a statement Sunday that international envoy Kofi Annan has not delivered to the Syrian government “written guarantees” from “armed terrorist groups” that they too will stop the violence.

Annan’s office said last week that Syrian President Bashar Assad accepted a cease-fire agreement brokered by Annan calling for government forces to withdraw from towns and villages by Tuesday.