U.N. Chief Highlights 'Dramatic Escalation' of Syria War after Yarmuk Attack

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U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon is alarmed by the "dramatic escalation" of the Syrian war, highlighted by a deadly air attack by government forces on a Palestinian refugee camp, his spokesman said Sunday.

Ban warned both sides in the 21-month-old conflict that attacks on civilians could amount to "war crimes," as battles intensify, with rebels making increasing gains against President Bashar Assad. The Security Council is set to be briefed Monday morning on the situation.

"The secretary general is alarmed by the continued dramatic escalation of violence in Syria over the past several days, and the grave danger facing civilians in areas under fire," said U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky.

Ban called an air attack on the Yarmuk refugee camp in Damascus "a matter of grave concern." Syrian activists said at least eight people were killed in the government air raid.

The U.N. leader also highlighted "extremely worrisome reports" of the mass killing of Alawite followers of Assad in the village of Aqrab last week and the the firing of long range missiles.

Activists said scores of civilians were killed in an Alawite enclave in Aqrab, while rebels have accused the government of using SCUD missiles in the war.

"Continued bombing raids by fixed-wing military aircraft and attack helicopters on populated areas have been amply documented," the U.N. leader was quoted as saying.

"Targeting civilians or carrying out military operations in populated areas, in an indiscriminate or disproportionate fashion that harms civilians is a war crime."

Ban again praised the countries around Syria that have taken in hundreds of thousands of refugees. He "stresses the importance of keeping the borders open to all who are fleeing the violence in Syria," said Nesirky.

The U.N. leader also renewed a call on the divided major powers "to make every effort to stop the tragic spiral of violence in Syria and urgently to promote an inclusive political process leading to a peaceful political transition."

Comments 3
Missing realist 17 December 2012, 10:35

The dramatic escalation will eventualy and sadly come to lebanon...thousands of more Syrian/palestenian refugees, more islamic polarization, not to mention the arms flow and the rise in crime. In short lebanon will be screwed unless you really believe that some miraculous inter-lebanese peace treaty will take place by which assasinations stop, perpetrators surrendered to justice, arms only in the hands of the state, you know..things that only happen in feritales with happy endings. One day we might even hear 'law kuntu a3lam' that bashar will fall i would not have sent my boys to qusair. Bye bye lebanon.

Default-user-icon MUSTAPHA O. GHALAYINI (Guest) 17 December 2012, 13:04

nabil abou mounsef said it very clearly and correctly in his editorial ,nahar newspaper.. the real problem/danger for lebanon is the syrian refugees who will reach half a million by may/june 2013.just think of all the ramifications:militarily,economically,security mazhabi..

Missing gabby10 17 December 2012, 16:39

Why didn't Fat Nassy address Yarmouk in his speech? This is very important. It looks like the PFLP might turn their weapons on ASSad now.