UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded on Thursday that the Syrian government immediately comply with its commitment to withdraw troops and heavy weapons from cities and towns.
The Associated Press quoted UN deputy spokesman Eduardo del Buey as having said that Ban is “deeply troubled” about reports from UN military observers that military equipment and army personnel remain in populated areas in violation of Syria’s pledge to pull them out.
In a statement, Del Buey added that the secretary-general is also “gravely alarmed” at reports of continued violence and killing, including shelling, explosions, and armed clashes in residential areas.
He said the UN chief strongly condemns the continuing repression against Syria’s civilian population which he says is “unacceptable and must stop immediately.”
Earlier on Thursday, AP reported, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice condemned the Syrian government’s continuing intense use of heavy weapons in the central city of Hama and elsewhere, which has resulted in a large number of civilian deaths every day.
She also condemned Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government for refusing to implement international envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan.
Rice told reporters that a deadly explosion that flattened houses in Hama on Wednesday appears to be “the result of intense shelling” though she couldn’t say this with certainty.
She reiterated that if the Assad regime continues to violate its commitments and the UN observer mission does not lead to a sustained cease-fire, the U.S. will again ask the Security Council to consider sanctions against Syria.
Earlier on Thursday, Turkish and French officials said they were mulling a potential military intervention in Syria if the violence continues.
Annan told the UN Security Council earlier this week that the situation in Syria is "bleak." He also expressed alarm at media reports that Syrian troops continue to carry out military operations in towns where UN observers are not present.
"If confirmed, this is totally unacceptable and reprehensible," Annan said.
Meanwhile on Thursday, a video uploaded to YouTube appears to show a group of Syrian soldiers loyal to Assad burying a man who is alive, as he pleads for mercy.