Brasilia: UN chief Ban Ki-moon
on Friday urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad`s regime "to stop
killing people," as pressure mounted on Damascus over its
widening crackdown in the north.
Ban, who was in Brazil as part of a Latin America tour
in support of his bid for re-election as secretary-general,
told reporters Assad should "engage in an inclusive dialogue"
and "take bold... measures before it is too late."
The comments were the strongest yet from the UN head,
and came as Western members of the Security Council were
struggling to push through a resolution to condemn Syria`s
attacks on civilian protesters.
The United States, Britain and France are pushing for
the measure, but Russia and China are resisting.
Brazil, which has a non-permanent seat on the Security
Council, is also against a condemnation, but is willing to
vote for a resolution taking note of the parlous situation in
Ban said he was seeking a coherent UN position on
On Wednesday, in Uruguay, he stressed that Assad
had to implement reforms called for by Syrian protesters
"before it is too late," adding that he was "deeply concerned
about the situation in Syria."
More than 1,200 people have died and some 10,000
have been detained in Syria since the mid-March eruption of
pro-democracy protests inspired by the uprisings that toppled
long-standing rulers in Egypt and Tunisia.
A fierce military assault centered on the
northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughur has sent refugees
streaming out of Syria, with some 8,500 living in camps inside
Turkey and another 5,000 taking refuge in Lebanon.
On Thursday, Syrians fleeing military gunfire said that new villages around Jisr al-Shughur were being
attacked by tanks and snipers.
The United States meanwhile said it was in contact
with opposition figures inside and outside Syria.
A State Department spokeswoman said the regime`s
attacks were "revolting" and showed Assad had ignored US
President Barack Obama`s warning to lead change or "get out of