- Bashar al-Assad - Kofi Annan - Syria - United Nations
UN makes final call to halt violence as deadline looms
UN chief Ban Ki-moon made a final call for President Bashar al-Assad to halt a crackdown on unrest ahead of a Tuesday deadline for Syrian troops to withdraw from cities in accordance with a peace plan proposed by special envoy Kofi Annan.
AFP - UN leader Ban Ki-moon made a final demand for President Bashar al-Assad to halt attacks on civilians ahead of a Tuesday deadline to withdraw troops and heavy guns from Syria's cities.
"The secretary general reiterates his demand that the government of Syria immediately cease all military actions against civilians and fulfill all of its commitments made through joint special envoy Kofi Annan," said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky.
Syria had accepted Annan's plan for government troops and weapons to be withdrawn from cities by April 10, but made a last-minute demand that opposition groups guarantee that they would lay down their arms.
"The timeline for the complete cessation of violence endorsed by the Security Council must be respected by all without condition," Ban said, referring to the 15-nation council's statement backing the April 10 deadline.
The UN leader added he was "alarmed" by continued violence and human rights violations in Syria, which have sparked an increased flow of refugees into neighboring countries.
Ban spoke on Monday with Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu "who conveyed his authorities' utmost concern over the recent developments, including cross-border fire which resulted in deaths and injuries on Turkish territory," said Nesirky.
Shots fired from across the border injured six people in a Turkish refugee camp and two people wounded in Syria died after crossing the border, officials said. A television cameraman was shot dead on the Lebanon-Syria border.
"The secretary general strongly deplores today's fatal cross-border shootings from Syria into Turkey, as well as into Lebanon," said Nesirky.
Ban again praised countries around Syria for taking in refugees and keeping their borders open during the 13-month crisis in which the UN says more than 9,000 people have been killed.
Turkey signaled an alarm over a growing Syrian refugee influx last week.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has organized a first shipment of aid and is working with the Turkish government, Nesirky told reporters.