‘Failing’ Syria Peace Plan Raises Question of What’s Next

At least 24 Syrians were killed by security forces during protests across the country, according to an opposition group.

Twelve people were killed in the northern province of Idlib and others died today in areas including Aleppo near the Turkish border and Daraa in the south, the Local Coordination Committees of Syria said in an e-mailed statement.

The group says more than 500 people have died since a cease-fire went into effect on April 12. The truce was brokered by United Nations envoy Kofi Annan and agreed to by President Bashar al-Assad and the leading opposition groups.

The UN is seeking to recruit 300 observers to bolster a monitoring mission in Syria to assess the cease-fire. The U.S. and allies have expressed skepticism about the accord and say they are preparing tougher measures against Assad.

Syria’s government has blamed the violence on foreign-backed extremist groups, and says parliamentary elections due on May 7 mark a step toward the political openness that the Syrian public is seeking.