Damascus: A peace plan for Syria was in jeopardy on Monday as fresh clashes raged after President Bashar al-Assad's government laid down conditions for it to pull troops and armour out of protest hubs.

Under a peace deal brokered by UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, Syria's armed forces are supposed to withdraw from protest centres on Tuesday, with a complete end to fighting set for 48 hours later.
But the truce already appears in jeopardy after Damascus said it would only carry its side of the bargain if rebels first handed over written guarantees to stop fighting, a demanded rejected by rebel Army chief Colonel Riyadh al-Asaad.

The 11th-hour demand came as weekend violence claimed almost 180 lives, most of them civilians, a surge in bloodshed that former UN chief Annan described as "unacceptable."

Making matters worse, fresh fighting killed another 13 people on Monday, all but one of them soldiers, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"The regime had thought that it would control all areas (of rebels by April 10). As this is not happening, it is procrastinating to gain time," said the Observatory's Rami Abdel Rahman.
"If the Annan plan does not work, no other plan would, and Syria would plunge into a civil war," he said.

The Observatory also reported army operations in several other parts of the country, and the killing of a civilian in ambush near the village of Saida, in southern Daraa province.

Two Syrians also died of wounds after fleeing to a refugee camp in Turkey following a shootout with Assad loyalists at Salama village in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo, Anatolia news agency said, citing a health official.