New York

18 March 2013

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Syria

Two years ago, Syrians stood up in peaceful popular protests to appeal for their universal rights and freedoms.  This appeal was answered with brutal force by the Syrian authorities.  Today, the world is watching the consequences with horror.

Indiscriminate air, missile, artillery and bomb attacks against civilian areas continue.  Radical elements are taking hold.  Well over 70,000 people have been killed. Serious abuses have also been committed, and those responsible must face justice.  The country is facing a humanitarian crisis, with over three million people displaced from their homes, including one million seeking safety in neighbouring countries.  Cities and villages, including some world heritage sites, have been destroyed.  This is the result of a choice to resort to arms over peaceful political dialogue and genuine change. 

The Secretary-General calls on all parties in Syria and in the international community to seriously reflect on these past two years. We all need to inject urgency towards reaching a political solution while there is still time to prevent Syria's complete destruction.  The end goal is clear to all – there must be an end to violence, a clean break with the past and a transition to a new Syria in which the rights of all communities are protected and the legitimate aspirations of all Syrians for freedom, dignity and justice, are met.  The sooner a military solution is abandoned the better.  There is no need for more people to die, flee or grieve in Syria.

The Secretary-General calls on the region and the international community, in particular the Security Council, to find unity and lend its full support to the efforts of Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi to help the Syrian people reach a political solution to the conflict.