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The maneuvers are the second to be carried out by the Syrian military since the uprising began 16 months ago.

Annan said Saturday that the international community’s efforts to find a political solution to the escalating violence in Syria have failed.

“The evidence shows that we have not succeeded,” he told the French daily Le Monde.

Annan, the special envoy for the United Nations and the Arab League, is the architect of the most prominent international plan to end the crisis in Syria.

His six-point plan was to begin with a cease-fire in mid-April between government forces and rebels seeking to topple Assad. But the truce never took hold, and now the almost 300 U.N. observers sent to monitor the cease-fire are confined to their hotels because of the escalating violence.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday that time is running out on Syrian peace hopes and warned that the Syrian state could collapse.

Speaking in Japan, Clinton said Annan’s acknowledgement that his peace plan is failing “should be a wake-up call for everyone.”

She said last month was the deadliest for the Syrian people since the revolt began in March 2011, but added that the opposition “is getting more effective in defense of themselves and going on the offensive against the Syrian military.”

Karam reported from Beirut. AP writer Jamal Halaby contributed from Amman, Jordan.