UN voices alarm over growing dimension of Syrian conflict

Tuesday, October 16, 2012
New York: A top UN official and Council members have voiced alarm at the growing regional dimension of the Syrian conflict.

The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey D. Feltman, told the Council that "long standing predictions of the conflict spiralling beyond its borders are coming true, as demonstrated by the recent escalation along the Syrian-Turkish border, rounds of small arm fire into the occupied Golan, exchanges of fire into northern Lebanon, as well as a surge in belligerent rhetoric."

US Ambassador Susan Rice said "no one can deny that Assad's war against the Syrian people now poses real challenges to all of Syria's neighbours, including Lebanon."

Rice said "from deadly Syrian regime attacks across the border to tens of thousands of refugees, Lebanon is already suffering the consequences of this conflict" and added that "Hezbollah active and growing support for Assad's war" exposes Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah's "claims of promoting Lebanon's national interest, as nothing more than a deadly form of deception."

Ambassador Peter Wittig of Germany, commenting on the cross border violence along the Turkish border, said "this time, the bombs not only killed an innocent Turkish woman and her four children; they also violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our NATO partner."

Wittig noted that "despite all divisions, the Council has sent a clear message that it will not tolerate Damascus to threaten regional peace and security."

Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari placed blame on those nations "undermining my country's sovereignty by encouraging terrorism and by supplying and providing all types of logistical and political support to armed groups in Syria by providing them with arms and also by facilitating the transit of terrorists, foreign terrorists into Syria."

The conflict in Syria, now entering its 20th month, has killed some 30,000 people, according to "unconfirmed" estimates cited by Feltman.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged the Syrian Government to declare a ceasefire to be reciprocated by the opposition armed groups. Mr. Feltman noted that, to succeed, this must be a collective effort by all inside Syria, in the region and beyond, and must include an end to arms transfers to all parties.

In addition to the tens of thousands killed the uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad that began in March last year has left 2.5 million Syrians in urgent need of humanitarian aid, according to UN agencies. It has also caused over 330,000 people to flee to neighbouring Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. -UNifeed
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