Sun, July 22, 2012
World > International Organizations > 2012 Syrian Situation

UN chief urges peaceful solution as clashes continue in Syria

2012-07-22 05:48:11 GMT2012-07-22 13:48:11(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

DAMASCUS, July 22 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday said he is working with UN-Arab league joint special envoy Kofi Annan to push for a peaceful solution to the Syria crisis.

After meeting with Croatian President Ivo Josipovic in Brijuni, Ban expressed his concerns about the situation in Syria at a joint news conference, and urged all parties in Syria to "stop armed violence without any conditions."

"Now the council must redouble its efforts to forge the united way forward and exercise collective responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations," he said.

The UN chief is sending Herve Ladsous, the under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, to Syria to assess the situation.

Meanwhile, clashes continued Saturday in Syria, including in Damascus suburbs and the eastern Deir al-Zour province.

Syrian troops on Saturday flushed out armed opposition fighters from a district in Damascus and several areas in the northern Idlib province, the state-run SANA news agency said.

It added that the government forces killed a large number of opposition fighters and rounded some others, and confiscated a big amount of ammunition and weapons.

Governor of Damascus Bisher al-Sabban on Saturday toured the neighborhood of Midan as the intensity of clashes slightly declined inside the capital.

After the tour, al-Sabban said normal life would be completely restored in Midan within five days after the ending of the restoration process.

On the opposition side, activists reported shelling by the government troops on a number of areas across the country, adding that the rebel Free Syrian Army has managed to take over a Syrian border point with Iraq's northern Nineveh province.

"Gunmen from the Syrian opposition attacked al-Yarubiyah border post in the afternoon and occupied its buildings after more than 30 minutes of fierce clash with the Syrian government troops," said Mohammed Eiyada from Rabiea, an Iraqi town close to the al-Yarubiyah border post.

Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region has received over 9,000 Syrian refugees, a Kurdish official said Saturday.

Up to 30,000 Syrian refugees may have crossed into Lebanon over the past 48 hours, UN refugee agency UNHCR said Friday.

In all, 120,000 Syrians fleeing the conflict had sought protection in Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey as of Wednesday, the UNHCR said, though the numbers given by these governments are much higher.

In view of the deteriorating security situation in Syria, Malaysia has joined Iraq and some other countries in announcing plans to evacuate its citizens from the turmoil-torn country.

The UN Security Council on Friday passed a resolution allowing the unarmed UN monitors deployed in Syria to stay in the nation for another 30 days.

The decision, which Ban hailed as a "constructive sign," came after severe clashes had erupted in the capital last Sunday in what the opposition dubbed the "big battle of Damascus."

On Wednesday, four senior officials, including Defense Minister Dawood Rajha and President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law Assef Shawkat, were killed in a single blast that tore through the national intelligence headquarters in Damascus.

Both the Free Syrian Army and a rebel group named Liwa al-Islam claimed responsibility for the attack.

Syria has been wrecked by unrest and violence since March 2011, when anti-government protests began. The turmoil has claimed at least 9,000 lives.

Related:

Intense clashes break out in Syria's Aleppo

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