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UN Secretary General expresses concern about most recent violence in Syria

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon [official website] released a statement [text] on Friday expressing deep concern regarding the most recent violence in Syria, casting doubt over Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's commitment to the recent peace plan agreed to by the Syrian government [JURIST report]. The Secretary General was referring to the recent shelling of the city of Treimseh in the Hama region on Thursday where there was open use of heavy artillery and helicopters against civilian populations. Reportedly, more than 100 people died in the attack [LA Times report]. Secretary Ban reiterated his call for an end to the violence and a return of both sides to the agreed upon six step peace process to facilitate "a peaceful Syrian-led transition that truly meets the legitimate aspiration of the Syrian people."

The attack comes the same day video of unexploded cluster munitions found in the Hama region [JURIST report] was reported by Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website]. Syria has been plagued with violence over the past year and a half, and human rights groups have blamed both the government and anti-government groups for the resulting deaths. Last week, HRW reported that Syrian authorities have been maintaining secret detention facilities [JURIST report] to hold and torture prisoners. In June, a UN commission stated that Syrian forces "may have been responsible" for the killing of more than 100 civilians [JURIST report] in Al-Houla in May. In April the UN Security Council approved a resolution [JURIST report] to send 300 unarmed soldiers and other humanitarian aid to supervise the implementation of a peace plan. In March, HRW reported on videos that show Syrian forces rounding up civilians [JURIST report] to use as human shields.

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