Syria conflict spreading to neighbors, violence must end: U.N.

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 03, 2012 3:23 PM
Syria conflict spreading to neighbors, violence must end: U.N.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday urged the Syrian government to respect the territorial integrity of its neighbors and warned that the 18-month-long conflict in Syria is increasingly harming other countries in the region.

"The Secretary-General calls on the Syria Government to respect fully the territorial integrity of its neighbors as well as to end the violence against the Syrian people," Ban's press office said in a statement.

"He calls on all parties to reduce tensions and to forge a path toward a peaceful resolution of the Syria crisis," it said.

The statement did not specifically refer to Turkey's announcement that it struck targets inside Syria on Wednesday after mortar fire into Turkish territory killed at least five people.

"The Secretary-General has repeatedly warned that the ongoing militarization of the conflict in Syria is leading to tragic results for the Syrian people," the statement said.

"Today's incidents, where firing from Syria struck a Turkish town, again demonstrated how Syria's conflict is threatening not only the security of the Syrian people but increasingly causing harm to its neighbors," it said.

The president of the U.N. Security Council, Guatemalan U.N. Ambassador Gert Rosenthal, told reporters that the Turkish ambassador had asked to see him and Ban. But council diplomats told the 15-nation body had not scheduled discussions on the issue so far.

The council has been deadlocked on the Syria for more than a year. Russia, a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and China have vetoed three resolutions condemning Assad's government and rejected the idea of imposing sanctions on it.

On Monday, Syria's foreign minister accused Turkey, the United States, France, Saudi Arabia and Qatar of arming and funding rebels intent on toppling Assad.

(Reporting By Louis Charbonneau; editing by Mohammad Zargham)