UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is “horrified” by the growing violence in Syria’s 20-month-long conflict to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
The UN chief stated on Friday that the conflict has reached “new and appalling heights of brutality and violence” as the government steps up its shelling attacks on civilians and rebels, while rebels also boost their attacks, reports Reuters.
Ban and Lakhdar Brahimi, the international Syria mediator, addressed the UN General Assembly on Friday about the revolt against Assad, which began 20 months ago as peaceful rallies and grew into an armed struggle after the Syrian military cracked down on the protestors.
The fighting between the two sides have killed at least 40,000 people so gar, making it the bloodiest of all the Arab Spring uprisings, which ousted leaders in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. Ban stated:
“The government has intensified its campaigns to root out opposition strongholds and has increased shelling and air strikes. Opposition elements also have stepped up their attacks. I am horrified and saddened and condemn the seemingly daily massacres of civilians.”
China Daily notes that this is not the first time the UN Secretary-General has spoken about the conflict in Syria this week. Ban Ki-moon released a statement on Wednesday that condemned the continued killing of civilians and the Wednesday car bomb blasts in Damascus. The UN chief’s statement read in part:
“The secretary-general condemns in the strongest possible terms the terrorist bombings in Damascus this morning which have left dozens killed and injured. There are no circumstances that justify the targeting of civilians. Such terror acts are unacceptable.”
Ban Ki-moon noted in the statement on Wednesday that the latest violence only serves to underscore the need for stopping the destructive conflict that is quickly spiraling out of control. He highlighted the need for a quick, peaceful, political solution that meets the legitimate needs and wants of the Syrian people.