As violence killed at least 14 people across Syria Thursday (May 31st), the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) gave Syrian President Bashar Assad until Friday at noon to implement envoy Kofi Annan's six-point peace plan.
If the regime "does not meet the deadline by Friday mid-day, the command … will no longer be tied by any commitment to the Annan plan … and our duty will be … to defend civilians," AFP reported the FSA command as saying.
Turkey-based FSA chief Col. Riad al-Asaad denied there had been an ultimatum, prompting the leadership inside Syria to respond.
"From now on, all decisions will be taken from inside Syria. Anyone who wants to speak in the name of the FSA should do it from the battlefield, not through media," Col. Kassem Saadeddine said.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, addressing a forum in Istanbul on Thursday, demanded the Syrian government act on its commitment to the Annan plan.
"The massacres of the sort seen last weekend could plunge Syria into a catastrophic civil war, a civil war from which the country would never recover," he said.
Ban was referring to mass killings near the town of Houla on Friday and Saturday that left 108 people, including 49 children and 34 women, dead.
A team led by Annan visited Syria after the killings, calling for "concrete gestures" from the Syrian president to halt the violence.
Also on Thursday, government forces resumed shelling Houla for a second consecutive day. A young boy was killed by a sniper in the town, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
Clashes across the country killed at least 13 other people.