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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon


Secretary-General's remarks to the General Assembly on the Situation in Syria

New York, 30 November 2012

I am pleased to meet with you today together with Joint Special Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi. 

The Joint Special Representative has been entrusted to lead a united effort on behalf of the international community to stop the violence and launch a political process for a transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. 

The conflict in Syria, now in its 21st month, is reaching new and appalling heights of brutality and violence. 

The government has intensified its campaigns to root out opposition strongholds and has increased shelling and air strikes. Opposition elements have also stepped up their attacks.

Although the United Nations cannot independently verify the figures, some have estimated as many as 40,000 people have been killed. 

Human rights violations are being carried out on a wide scale by all combatants. 

Tens of thousands of people have been arbitrarily detained.

I am horrified and saddened and condemn the seemingly daily massacres of civilians.

Just last weekend, an airstrike on a village near Damascus killed more than 10 children.

Two days ago, terrorist bombings in Damascus claimed dozens of lives.

The assaults on human dignity must end, and those responsible must be held to account.

Our own United Nations staff are working under challenging conditions.  Yesterday and today the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force came under fire in Damascus resulting in injuries. 

The humanitarian crisis is also becoming more acute.

With winter upon us, potentially 4 million men, women and children inside Syria will be in need before the New Year. 

The flow of refugees also continues, with ever more serious impact on regional security.

The number of registered or assisted Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries and north Africa is now over 460,000.  There are also more than 20,000 Syrian refugees in Europe.

We expect the total number of refugees to reach 700,000 by early next year. 

At the same time, the Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan is only 50 per cent funded and the Regional Response Plan is only 38 per cent funded.

We continue to ask urgently for additional funds and improved access to all those needing humanitarian assistance.

I plan to soon visit refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey to assess the situation on the ground.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

A military solution will not bring an end to violence in Syria. 

It will plunge Syria into a destructive process from which it will be very hard and take very long to recover, with dangerous consequences for the entire region.

Under the prevailing military logic, all Syrians will lose.  We will all lose.

The formation of a new coalition of the opposition could be an important step towards the conditions for a comprehensive and inclusive political process.

Building a free and democratic Syria will require political dialogue and negotiations.

The United Nations will facilitate such a process. We can only succeed if all sides take the necessary steps, and if there are converging actions by the international community, in particular the Security Council.

If we genuinely unite behind Brahimi and behind one process, it is still possible to avert the worst and enable a Syria in peace to emerge from this crisis.

Thank you.

Statements on 30 November 2012