International peace envoyarrived in Damascus for talks with the Syrian leadership over his six-point plan for peace.
Annan's visit to Syria came one day after he admitted that his peace plan had so far failed to end ongoing violence in Syria. This was reported on Saturday by the French publication Le Monde.
Annan's plan presupposed simultaneous ceasefire by the Syrian army and the opposition, and the presence of international observers in Syria, tasked with monitoring the cease-fire. However, the truce never took hold.
Annan will meet President Assad on Monday for the third time since March, said Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Army has launched a major military drill, began Saturday, which is expected to continue for the next few days and is intended to simulate defense against outside “aggression,” said the official SANA news.
Syrian TV broadcast film clips of missiles being fired from naval warships and launch vehicles.
Air and ground forces were expected to be included over the next several days, an army officer told Iran's Press TV.
On the ground, the Syrian army resumed bombings in the east and north, and launched coordinated attacks on Qousseir and Rastane - two rebel strongholds in the province of Homs, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). In total, the violence has left at least 37 dead, half of them civilians and half army deserters, said SOHR at noon.
On Saturday, the operations of Syrian forces and fighting between soldiers and rebels killed at least 77 people (39 civilians, 25 soldiers and 13 rebels), the NGO said.
In the meantime,U.S. Secretary of State She reiterated that the days of President Bashar al-Assad's regime were numbered. "If a cessation of violence and a political transition are reached, there will be a chance to spare the Syrian nation from a catastrophic attack which would be dangerous for the country but also for the region," Clinton told reporters on the sidelines of an international conference in Tokyo.called for a political transition in Syria in order to save "a catastrophic attack."
She stressed that Damascus has so far has been holding back all the efforts of Annan. "There has been no movement by the Syrian regime to respect" the Annan plan, she insisted.
On the other hand, in an interview with German public broadcaster ARD, Syrian President Bashar Assad accused the United States of funding and arming the Syrian rebels.
He also said that that he is not afraid of meeting the same fate as Egypt's Hosni Mubarak or Libya's Mohamar Gaddafi, saying he has nothing in common with them.