Kofi Annan's visit follows a massacre in Houla, Syria, that left 108 dead, most of them 'summarily executed,' according to the United Nations.
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The massacre is being described as a "turning point" in the Syrian conflict, now in its 14th month, because of the international condemnation it prompted, particularly from Russia, which has been broadly supportive of President Assad until now.
But there has been no change in the international approach. Mr. Annan has merely reiterated the need for both the government and rebels to abide by his six-point peace plan, which has been mostly ignored by the government and rebels since it was unveiled in April.
Details from Annan's visit to Damascus have not been made public. The New York Times reports that he arrived in Syria with "a new mandate from the Security Council – including Russia, which had usually blocked action against its ally in Damascus – to carry out his plan."