Thursday, October 4, 2012

Secretary-General Urges Restraint on Spillover of Syria Crisis into Turkey

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced his alarm at escalating tensions along the Syrian-Turkish border, and called on all concerned to exercise maximum restraint.  At least six Turkish civilians were reportedly killed yesterday after mortar fire from Syria hit the town of Akcakale in Turkey’s Sanliurfa province, which shares a border with Syria. Turkey’s parliament today authorized further military action against Syria, as Turkey began its second day of shelling targets within Syria in response to yesterday’s incident, according to media reports.

Mr. Ban has “repeatedly made clear his concern about the spillover of the Syrian crisis into neighbouring countries, as occurred yesterday with Turkey,” said his spokesperson in a statement.  “The Secretary-General calls on all concerned to abandon the use of violence, exercise maximum restraint and exert all efforts to move toward a political solution,” it added. 

More than 18,000 people, mostly civilians, have died in Syria since the uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad began last year. A further 2.5 million Syrians urgently need humanitarian aid, according to UN estimates.

“As the situation inside Syria deteriorates yet further – including the atrocious terrorist bombings in Aleppo this week which killed dozens of people including civilians – the risks of regional conflict and the threat to international peace and security are also increasing,” the statement noted.  Furthermore, it added that the Joint Special Representative for Syria of the UN and the League of Arab States, Lakhdar Brahimi, has been in communication with officials from Turkey and Syria to encourage an easing of tensions.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

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