One year ago today, Syrians emboldened by the changing tide of history in their region stood up in the streets of Damascus to appeal for their universal rights and freedoms. Peaceful popular protests started a few days later in Deraa and spread to many other locations across the country. The Syrian authorities responded with brutal repression, which has continued unabated. Its consequences are tragically unfolding before the world's eyes. Well over 8,000 are dead as a result of the government's decision to choose violent repression over peaceful political dialogue and genuine change.
It is urgent to break the cycle of violence, stop military operations against civilians and prevent a further militarization of the conflict in Syria. The status quo in Syria is indefensible. The Secretary-General stands in solidarity with the people of Syria and their legitimate aspirations to dignity, freedom and justice. He calls for all violence to end, and for a resolution of the crisis through peaceful means. He urges the Syrian Government and opposition to cooperate with the efforts of the Joint Special Envoy, and appeals to the international community to offer its determined and unified support to stop the bloodshed and find a political solution that responds to the will of the Syrian people and ensures respect for their fundamental rights.