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Ban Tells Assad He Has No License to Kill

UN chief: The violence in Syria is appalling. The Security Council's disagreement over a resolution is not a license to escalate attacks.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/7/2012, 7:46 AM

UN Chief Ban Ki-moon at Herzliya Conference
UN Chief Ban Ki-moon at Herzliya Conference
IDC Herzliya

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday called the escalating violence in Syria appalling and told President Bashar Assad’s government that the Security Council's disagreement over a resolution condemning the bloodshed was not a license to escalate attacks.

The Associated Press reported that Ban called the mounting death toll, and the continued artillery shelling in the city of Homs, “totally unacceptable before humanity.”

He also expressed regret that Syrian authorities continue to ignore calls to stop using violence against civilians and urged “all concerned in Syria” and the international community to redouble efforts to try to stop the violence.

“The lack of agreement in the Security Council gives no license to the Syrian authorities to step up attacks on the Syrian population,” Ban’s spokesperson, Martin Nesirky, was quoted by AP as having said, referring to Saturday’s discussion in which China and Russia vetoed a resolution on Syria.

“No government can commit such acts against its people without its legitimacy being eroded,” Nesirky added.

Meanwhile, the report said, General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser reiterated the urgent calls of the UN, the Arab League, and international community for Syrian authorities to immediately end the killings and halt human rights violations.

Al-Nasser urged Assad “to listen to the voices and aspirations of his people” and called on the Security Council to continue to try to reach a common position that will bring lasting peace, stability and democracy to Syria.

“The longer the Security Council remains divided in adopting a consensus position on developments in Syria the more difficult the situation becomes, with more Syrians being killed daily,” he warned.

The violence in Syria continued on Monday as forces loyal to Assad renewed their attack on the city of Homs, killing at least 50 more people.

The Syrian opposition reported that Syrian Air Force combat helicopters were firing missiles at targets in the city. Ground forces have been firing tank shells and mortar rounds at various locations in the city as well.

The United State, meanwhile, closed its embassy in Syria and pulled out its remaining diplomatic staff after Damascus refused to address security concerns raised by the State Department.