Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 01 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Coverage of Gaza in the Israeli media

Read more

REPORTERS

1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 01 August 2014

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

Read more

#THE 51%

World War One: The war that changed women’s lives

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Ségolène Royal goes for green

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

A look back at some of the Observers' best stories

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

  • Hamas denies capturing Israeli soldier as Gaza truce lies in tatters

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

    Read more

  • Police 'chokehold' caused NYC death, coroner rules

    Read more

  • French most keen to erase their online footprint, says Google

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Rogue general denies Islamist seizure of Benghazi

    Read more

  • Ugandan court strikes down anti-gay legislation

    Read more

  • 1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

    Read more

  • Regional summit to tackle deadly Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • French hospital to open wine bar for terminally ill patients

    Read more

  • Video: Tipping is dying out in French café culture

    Read more

  • €2.5 million in cocaine ‘disappears’ from Paris police HQ

    Read more

  • Appeal court keeps French rogue trader Kerviel in jail

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Ukrainian army suffers losses in separatist attack

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

Middle east

Military operations have ceased, Assad tells UN chief

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-08-18

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad told UN chief Ban Ki-moon that military operations against anti-regime protesters had ceased ahead of a UN Security Council meeting on Syria Thursday. Assad's statement comes amid new reports of deaths and arrests.

AFP - Syria's President Bashar al-Assad told UN leader Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday that military operations against protest towns have "stopped," a UN spokesman said, amid new reports of killings and mass arrests.

Ban spoke to Assad by telephone ahead of a UN Security Council meeting on Syria when, diplomats said, the UN human rights chief is expected to call for the international war crimes court to investigate Assad's deadly crackdown.

There is mounting international concern over the military assault on pro-democracy protests said to have left about 2,000 civilian dead in the past five months.

Ban, one of the few international leaders to have got through to Assad in recent weeks, "expressed alarm at the latest reports of continued widespread violations of human rights and excessive use of force by Syrian security forces against civilians across Syria," deputy UN spokesman Farhan Haq said.

The statement highlighted the town of Lattakia, where several thousand Palestinian refugees are said to have fled their camps.

Ban "emphasized that all military operations and mass arrests must cease immediately. President Assad said that the military and police operations had stopped," the statement declared.

There was no immediate sign from the ground of an end to hostilities between the government and opposition.

Security forces killed at least 10 people and made sweeping arrests again on Wednesday as the telephone talks went ahead, activists said.

The United Nations said Assad "enumerated the reforms he will undertake in the next few months" including constitutional change and elections. The spokesman said Ban emphasized these must go ahead "without further military intervention."

Assad has promised reforms but western governments say there are few signs of them being carried out.

"The secretary general reiterated his calls for an independent investigation into all reported killings and acts of violence, and for free access by the media." Ban called on Syria to give full cooperation to the UN human rights inquiry in Syria, the spokesman said.

Ban also demanded that Assad launch "a credible and peaceful process of reform."

Assad reportedly agreed to receive a UN humanitarian mission which Ban said must "be provided with independent and unhindered access to all areas." Assad only promised "access to different sites in Syria," the spokesman said.

UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay and humanitarian chief Valerie Amos are to give details of the latest events in the strife-torn country at a UN Security Council meeting on Thursday.

Pillay will say there is "evidence that Syria has committed grave violations of international human rights law," said one diplomat with knowledge of the report.

Pillay wants "a thorough, appropriate, international investigation" of the crackdown, the diplomat told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The UN rights official "is likely to suggest that the International Criminal Court would be appropriate," confirmed another diplomatic source.

The UN human rights department "is expected to conclude that the allegations are so serious, and credible, that national level investigation conducted by the Syrians will be insufficient," added the source.

Only the Security Council can refer the Syria case to the ICC, which is based in The Hague.

The council has already referred Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi and Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir to the ICC. Both are now on the court's wanted list.

The European Union and United States have stepped up pressure on Assad's government with mounting sanctions moves. The Western powers face opposition in the Security Council to new sanctions, namely from Russia, China and emerging powers Brazil, India and South Africa.

The UN Security Council meeting starts at 1900 GMT and will almost certainly be behind closed doors.
 

Date created : 2011-08-18

  • SYRIA

    Syrian troops detain hundreds in Latakia stadium

    Read more

  • ARMS TRADE

    Russia 'obliged to fulfil' Syrian arms contracts

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syrian army pounds port of Latakia for fourth day

    Read more

COMMENT(S)