UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is gravely alarmed by reports of continued violence and killing in Syria, including shelling and explosions in various residential areas as well as armed clashes, and called the situation “unacceptable.”
The comments come as media reports quoted activists as saying that up to 70 people have been killed in an attack on a house in the city of Hama. Meanwhile, state media said 16 people died in the blast in a house used as a bomb factory by ‘armed terrorist groups.’
Mr. Ban “condemns in the strongest terms the continued repression against the Syrian civilian population and violence from any quarter,” his spokesperson said in a statement. “This situation is unacceptable and must stop immediately.”
The violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 as a protest movement similar to those across the Middle East and North Africa, has claimed over 9,000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands.
The latest violence takes place less than a week after the Security Council authorized the establishment of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) – made up of up to 300 unarmed military observers and deployed for an initial period of 90 days – to monitor the cessation of violence.
The observers are also tasked with monitoring and supporting the full implementation of a six-point peace plan, put forward by the Joint Special Envoy of the UN and the League of Arab States for Syria, Kofi Annan.
Today’s statement noted that the Secretary-General remains “deeply troubled” by the continued presence of heavy weapons, military equipment and army personnel in population centres, as reported by UN military observers, which is in contravention of the Syrian Government’s commitments to withdraw its troops and heavy weapons from these areas.
“He demands that the Government of Syria comply with its commitments without delay.”
Mr. Ban also reminded all concerned parties, particularly the Government, of the need to ensure that conditions for the effective operation of the UN observers are put in place immediately, including a sustained cessation of armed violence.