Syria promises to stop fighting by Thursday

Nickalas Tabbert

 Syria promised to comply with a U.N. arranged cease-fire beginning Thursday, but under the condition that the regime still has a right to defend itself against the terrorists it says are behind the country's year-old uprising.

A statement Wednesday offered a glimmer of hope that a peace initiative by special envoy Kofi Annan could help calm the conflict that has claimed 9,000 lives, the Star Tribune said.

Syria said the army has successfully fought off "armed terrorist groups" and reasserted state authority across the country.

"A decision has been taken to stop these missions as of the morning of Thursday, April 12, 2012," the statement said.  "Our armed forces are ready to repulse any aggression carried out by the armed terrorist groups against civilians or troops."

The government denies it is facing an uprising by Syrians who want to dislodge the authoritarian family dynasty that has ruled for four decades, the Tribune said.  Instead, the regime says, terrorists are carrying out a foreign conspiracy to destroy Syria.

The White House cautioned that President Bashar Assad's regime has not kept promises to stop the violence in the past.

"What is important to remember is that we judge the Assad's regime by its actions and not by their promises, because promises have proven so frequently in the past to be empty," White House spokesman  Jay Carney told reporters in Washington.

Annan said Wednesday that he is hopeful both sides will abide by their agreement.

"We've been in touch with them (Syrian rebels) and have had positive answers from them," Annan said.  "We should see a much improved situation on the ground."