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Moscow - Apr 10, 2012 - 11:59

Last modified: 10 Apr 2012 08:59

Walid al-Muallem, Syria's foreign minister, says it has begun withdrawing its troops from some cities inside the country, even as activists report new attacks on towns.

The UN-backed peace plan required Syrian forces to pull back from protest centres by Tuesday.

In the last hour, Muallam has been meeting his Russian counterpart in Moscow for talks.

Here's what he had to say:
"We have pulled out some units of the army from some provinces in implementation of paragraph C of [UN-Arab League envoy] Kofi Annan's plan, and we allowed more than 28 media organisations to enter Syria since March 25 - since we accepted his plan."
He added:
"We have relased a number of detainees, they were detained based on the act of riot they had committed and despite all these positive steps by the syrian government we noticed the escalating military operations by the armed groups and their spread into other provinces."
Muallem also said that Damascus wanted guarantees from Annan that armed groups attacking its troops would commit to a ceasefire under a UN-backed peace plan.

"We will not ask the terrorist groups, which are killing, kidnapping and destroying infrastructure, for guarantees. We want Annan to give us these guarantees," he told reporters in Moscow. 

He also said that Annan told him in a recent telephone call that a ceasefire in the country would be followed by disarming of the rebels.

While Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, says Syria could have acted more decisively: 
"We point out that the Syrian leadership has reaffirmed to us its committment and we were given information by the Syrian representatives concerning their use of arms and heavy weaponry in towns. We think that their actions should have been more decisive in carrying out the points of the peace plan."
(Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (right) walks with his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Muallem during their meeting in Moscow - Reuters)

Read our news story for more detail and context: Syria: Troops being pulled out from provinces

For more of Al Jazeera's special coverage visit our spotlight page: Syria - The War Within