DAMASCUS (AFP/Reuters) - International envoy Kofi Annan acknowledged the failure so far of his mission to bring peace to Syria, as more than 60 people were killed in violence on Saturday that also spilled over into Lebanon.
In comments published in French by the Le Monde newspaper, Annan was quoted as saying that significant efforts had been made to try to resolve the crisis peacefully and politically. However, the plan had not been successful and perhaps there was no guarantee that it would succeed, he said.
The Annan plan, which insists on a cessation of violence by all sides, has made little headway, and activists say at least an estimated 16,500 people have now died since the uprising began in March last year.
On the ground, Syrian forces bombarded towns in the northern province of Aleppo in violence on Saturday that claimed at least 60 lives across the country, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
In Lebanon, a teenager died when a rocket hit her house in the border region of Wadi Khaled, a Lebanese security official told AFP, adding that five others were wounded by rockets and exchanges of gunfire.
"A few hours later, an eight-year-old Bedouin girl, who recently fled with her parents from Syria, was killed," said a hospital source in Akkar province.
Meanwhile, China rebuffed on Saturday US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's accusation that Beijing and Moscow have hindered the resolution of the crisis in Syria, saying any attempt to "slander" China was doomed to fail.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said Clinton's comments were "totally unacceptable".
"On the Syria problem, China's fair and constructive stance and its contributions toward diplomatic efforts have attained the wide understanding and support of relevant parties in the international community," Liu said in a statement on the ministry's website.
"Any words and deeds that slander China and sow discord between China and other countries will be in vain."