Annan calls for peace as new Syria killings reported

This citizen journalism image provided by Shaam News Network, taken May 26, 2012, purports to show bodies following a Syrian government assault on Houla, Syria. AP Photo

UPDATED at 10:47 a.m. ET.

(CBS/AP) As activists reported a fresh bombardment in the central city of Hama, United Nations special envoy Kofi Annan called on the Syrian government and "everyone with a gun" to stop the violence that left more than a 100 dead in the past few days.

"I urge the government to take bold steps to signal that it is serious in its intention to resolve this crisis peacefully, and for everyone involved to help create the right context for a credible political process. And this message of peace is not only for the government, but for everyone with a gun," Annan said.

Annan arrived in Syria on Monday, just days after a gruesome weekend massacre that killed more than 100 people.

"It is the Syrian people, ordinary citizens of this great country, who are paying the highest price in this conflict. Our goal is to stop this suffering. It must end and it must end now," Annan said.

Syrian troops shelled several neighborhoods in Hama until the early hours of Monday, killing at least 24 people, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees activist group said. Amateur videos showed a makeshift hospital where several people lay on the floor either dead or wounded. Further details were not immediately clear.

The mass killings Friday in the west-central area of Houla — punctuated by amateur videos showing rows of bloody children killed in the attack — prompted sweeping international criticism of the regime of President Bashar Assad, although differences emerged from world powers over whether his forces were exclusively to blame. (Click the player at left for a full report)

The head of the U.N. observer mission in Syria said he would emphasize "the suffering of the Syrian people" during Annan's visit.

"Today, I look very much forward to Annan's visit, I look forward to be able to covey my impressions of the Syrian people," Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, the head of the unarmed U.N. observer mission, said in Damascus. "Also to share with him that the suffering of the Syrian people is something that they don't deserve."

Syria gov't denies fault in childrens' deaths
U.N. observer head: 32 children killed in Syria
Complete coverage: The Arab Spring

CBS News' George Baghdadi reports that Annan arrived in Damascus Monday morning and was greeted by vice foreign minister Faisal Miqdad. Annan was to meet Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Monday afternoon and then President Assad on Tuesday.

The newly reported violence comes at a time of deep concern over the conflict in Syria. The Houla massacre was one of the deadliest single days of the country's uprising, which is in its 15th month.

Syria has strongly denied allegations that its forces carried out the killings, suggesting instead that sate forces were attacked at their bases by armed "terrorists," who were also to blame for the massacre in Houla.

The U.N. Security Council after an emergency session Sunday condemned government forces for shelling residential areas, but stopped short of explicitly blaming Assad's regime for the deaths in the house-to-house raids.

Russia, which has blocked all attempts by the U.S. and its other allies at the U.N. to take harsher action against Assad, made it clear on Monday that Moscow's position had changed little in the wake of the Houla massacre.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said both sides in the Syrian conflict "had a hand" in the deaths in Houla.

Lavrov said "the area is controlled by the militants, but is also surrounded by government troops."

He spoke Monday following talks with visiting British Foreign Secretary William Hague in Moscow, whose remarks also suggested little new common ground between the U.K. - which along with the U.S. has called for Assad to step down immediately - and Moscow.

Hague and Lavrov both stressed Annan's six-point ceasefire plan as the only workable solution to the crisis in Syria. However, the incongruous messages coming from Moscow and the other U.N. Security Council member states suggest the international community will be able to do little to force Assad's regime, or the rebel forces, to adhere to the agreement.

Annan himself issued a statement upon arriving in Damascus, condemning the Houla massacre anew and saying, "our goal is to stop this suffering. It must end and it must end now."

"I urge the government to take bold steps to signal that it is serious in its intention to resolve this crisis peacefully, and for everyone involved to help create the right context for a credible political process," added Annan, before making it clear that both sides in the conflict must lay down arms.

"This message of peace is not only for the government but for everyone with a gun. The six-point plan has to be implemented comprehensively, and this is not happening," said Annan.

CBS' Pamela Falk contributed.



Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.