Syrian rebels refuse to give regime guarantees

ALBERT AJI BASSEM MROUE Associated Press Published:

BEIRUT (AP) -- The commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army has refused a regime demand for a 'written guarantee' to end fighting.

Col. Riad al-Asaad's comments come hours after Syria demanded "written guarantees" that its opponents will lay down their weapons before the government withdraws its troops from cities, derailing a U.N.-brokered truce that was supposed to start in two days.

Al-Asaad said Sunday that his group does not recognize President Bashar Assad's regime and for that reason they will not give guarantees.

Al-Asaad told The Associated Press by telephone from Turkey that if the regime abides by U.N. and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan's six-point plan to end the violence, his group will cease fire.

He said the government should withdraw its forces to bases and remove checkpoints from streets.