New York

2 July 2013

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the situation in Homs, Syria

The Secretary-General is following with grave concern the escalating conflict in Syria, in particular the developing situation in Homs, where heavy fighting has been raging in recent days.

An estimated 2,500 civilians remain trapped in Homs. The Secretary-General calls on the warring sides to do their utmost to avoid civilian casualties and to allow immediate humanitarian access, as well as opportunities for trapped civilians to leave without fear of persecution.  He reminds all combatants of their obligations under international law and underscores that those responsible for any atrocities will be held to account. The Secretary-General expresses his concern over threats to seize two Shiite villages in the northern province of Aleppo. 

The Secretary-General calls again for stopping the supply of arms to all sides and appeals to the parties in Syria and their supporters to focus instead on the search for a political solution that remains the only way out of this tragedy.