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Syria Crisis: Ban Ki-Moon Urges Security Council To Unite On Resolution

01/31/2012 07:30 am ET | Updated Apr 01, 2012

AMMAN, Jan 31 (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday he hoped the Security Council would reflect international will when it deliberates a draft resolution calling on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to quit power.

Spurred by Assad's brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters, the Arab League, backed by the United States, France and Britain, will ask the Council on Tuesday to adopt the resolution. Russia, one of Syria's few allies, has objected to it on the grounds it could pave the way for military intervention in Syria.

"I sincerely hope the Security Council will be united and speak in a coherent manner reflecting the wishes of the international community," he told reporters in the Jordanian capital. "This is crucially important."

China, which like Russia has a veto in the council, also has reservations about the draft. Russia and China vetoed a European-drafted resolution in October that condemned Syria and threatened it with sanctions.

"I don't think we can go on like this," Ban said.

Syria's crackdown on protesters and anti-government fighters had gone on despite a now-suspended Arab League monitoring mission and action was needed to stop the bloodshed, he said.

"Even with the monitoring missions having been there, more than a few hundred have been killed ... every day tens of people are killed ... this should stop immediately," Ban said. "It is crucially important for the Security Council to act on this."

The office of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay voiced alarm on Tuesday at the escalating violence and called on Syrian authorities to "stop the killing of civilians" while also urging opposition forces to show restraint.

"It does look like there's a very dangerous and alarming escalation taking place including right in the suburbs of Damascus," U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a news briefing in Geneva.

"So once again we urge the Syrian authorities to stop the killing of civilians in Syria. And we also urge the opposition fighters to take extreme caution too and ensure that there is no more unnecessary killing," he said.

More than 5,000 people have been killed in the uprising as of mid-December, according to Pillay's office.

Despite "high rates of casualties" since then, it has been impossible to verify incidents and lists of victims compiled by five or six human rights groups on the ground, Colville said.

(Reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi; additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Writing by Joseph Logan; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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