UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] on Friday condemned [press release] recent attacks by troops loyal to the Syrian government against innocent civilians. On Monday the Syrian government promised to completely withdraw its troops by April 10, but Ban stated that having a timeline for withdrawal is not an excuse for continued killing until that date. Ban called for an immediate end to the violence and demanded that the Syrian government give access to humanitarian agencies, release detainees and begin peace talks. Ban's statement came amidst reports that Syrian troops continued attacking rebel troops [AP report] on Saturday, just days ahead of the cease-fire deadline. The UN estimates that more than 8000 individuals have been killed since the protests in Syria began.
The UN has continued to call for an end to the violence in Syria. Last month, the UN Human Rights Council [official website] voted to pass [JURIST report] a non-binding resolution condemning Syrian authorities for continued bloodshed and violations of human rights. This official condemnation from the rights body came on the heels of a demand for a cease-fire [JURIST report] by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] in late February. Also in February, the UN-appointed Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria accused the government of violating international human rights law [JURIST report] after finding that Syrian forces are engaging in torture and killings under orders from high level government officials. In the same month, both Pillay and Ban called for an end to the violence in Syria, with Pillay asking the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria [JURIST reports] to the International Criminal Court. The increasing unrest in Syria has garnered international attention and has sparked controversy in America about what its role should be [JURIST op-ed].