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Kofi Annan says he is encouraged that cease-fire appears to be holding in Syria
UNITED NATIONS (AP) ' Kofi Annan says he is encouraged that the cease-fire in Syria appears to be holding and calls on the government and rebels to fully implement his peace plan.
He stressed in a statement issued before his closed-door briefing to the U.N. Security Council on Thursday that the plan includes military provisions requiring the withdrawal of troops and heavy military equipment from towns and cities and a commitment to move to a political process.
Annan said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be asking the council to approve the deployment of a U.N. observer mission as soon as possible.
He said this would allow "a serious political dialogue" to be launched quickly addressing the Syrian people's concerns and aspirations.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) ' Turkey said it could seek NATO's help in case the Syrian troops violate its borders again.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that "NATO has responsibilities to protect the Turkish border according to Article 5." He was referring to the article in the alliance's treaty stating that an attack against one NATO member shall be considered an attack against all members.
Syrian forces have opened fire across the Turkish border Monday, killing two people in a Turkish refugee camp near the border.
Carmen Romero, a NATO spokeswoman, expressed concern over the incident and said Thursday that the military alliance is "monitoring the situation very closely and will continue to do so."
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that Turkey, a NATO member, could seek help from the military alliance if there are future violations.
Turkey's powerful army is capable of dealing with a threat from Syria but Turkey could benefit from the alliances advanced missile defense systems. Turkey, however, is unlikely to take any unilateral military action unless there is a direct and strong provocation from Syria.
Associated Press writer Raf Casert in Brussels contributed.