By: Al Bawaba News

    May 9, 2012

    UN chief Ban Ki-Moon calls for urgent steps in Syria. “We are in a race against time to prevent a civil war – with mass casualties,” warned the UN Secretary General in a speech Monday, on the eve of a meeting by Security Council on Syria. International envoy Kofi Annan is to report once again to members of the Security Council about the situation on Syria. He will do it from Geneva by videoconference.

    Ban denounced the “brutality” of the forces of President Bashar Al-Assad” and also stressed that the attacks of the armed opposition had “intensified”. Mr. Ban also believes that the Syrian government may try to benefit from the presence of UN observers to continue its repression.

    The UN estimates that more than 9,000 people were killed in Syria since the crisis began in March 2011.

    “The Syrian government continues to attack its people,” said Mr Ban in his speech to the Atlantic Council, a Washington research institute. Despite the presence of about 60 UN observers, the cease-fire, which took effect on April 12 has been regularly violated. The 300 observers authorized by the Security Council should be at work before the end of the month, Ban said. “This is a difficult task at a difficult time,” he said. “We know the risks for these brave observers, we know that Syrian citizens who speak to them may face a retaliation, and we know the nature of the regime, which could use the presence of the (UN) mission to plan other violence. ”

    Mr. Ban reiterated his call that the Syrian government should implement the six-point plan of UN and the Arab League mediator, Kofi Annan, “without further delay”. Mr. Ban had earlier denounced \ the parliamentary elections in Syria as “violence continues.”

    During the election day, 14 civilians were killed by regime forces in different parts of the country, NGOs said, adding that three soldiers of were killed in clashes with army deserters .

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