Ban 'Gravely Concerned' by Rising Syria Death Tollإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is "gravely concerned" about the rising death toll in Syria, a top official said Tuesday ahead of a U.N. Security Council meeting on the escalating conflict.
Ban wants the Security Council to unite to apply "sustained pressure" on Syrian government to apply the peace plan of U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, assistant secretary general Oscar Fernandez Taranco told the 15-nation body.
"The secretary general remains gravely concerned about the intensification of violence and rising death toll as well as continued human rights abuses and unmet humanitarian needs," Taranco told a council meeting on the Middle East.
"The situation in Homs is particularly alarming," he added.
Syrian rights monitors say about 1,000 families are trapped in the city as it comes under intense bombardment from President Bashar al-Assad's forces. The government claims that "terrorist groups" in Homs are using civilians as human shields.
"The secretary general has repeatedly underscored that the government of Syria bears primary responsibility to change course and fully implement" Annan's six point plan, the U.N. official said.
"A truly joint effort by the council, one that delivers unified and sustained pressure to demand compliance in full with the six-point plan is urgently needed," Taranco said.
"Otherwise we may be reaching the day when it will be too late to stop the crisis spiraling out of control."
Russia has so far resisted western demands for U.N. sanctions against Assad. Russia and China have twice vetoed resolutions which hinted at measures.
Major General Robert Mood, head of the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) is to brief the Security Council in a closed meeting at 2000 GMT.
Mood will give "an explanation of the situation, what does he believe is possible in coming days and coming weeks," France's U.N. envoy Gerard Araud told reporters.
Some western nations are skeptical about the future of the U.N. mission, which suspended patrols by its 300 unarmed monitors on Saturday because of the heightened violence.
Araud said that if there was a "dramatic new development" then the monitors could be withdrawn before their 90-day mission ends on July 20 but for the moment everyone was sticking to the mandate.
Taranco said there are now 86,000 Syrian refugees in neighboring countries and the number is "continuing to rise."