News / Middle East

    UN Chief Urges Syria Truce for Ramadan

    United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon, April 2013 file photo.
    United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon, April 2013 file photo.
    VOA News
    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling on Syrian forces and rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad to halt their fighting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins Tuesday.

    Ban says he is not looking for a negotiated truce, but rather a commitment from "every person holding a gun" in Syria to stop the violence as a gift to the Syrian people.

    He says such a move can bring "hope and momentum toward peace," and reiterated that a Syrian-led political solution is the only way to end the "ever-worsening civil war."

    More than two years of fighting have left as many 100,000 people dead and nearly 6 million others displaced within Syria or seeking refuge in neighboring countries.

    Ban urged the international community to voice their support for the Syrian people, with the message that "yet more violence is not the way."

    He also called on both sides in the conflict to immediately release detainees.

    Meanwhile, Syria says it has invited U.N. officials to Damascus to discuss the alleged use of chemical weapons in the country. However, Syria's ambassador to the U.N., Bashar Jaafari, made clear Monday that the talks would be limited to a specific instance in which the government says rebels used chemical weapons, and not the broad investigation the U.N. wants to carry out.

    Ban welcomed the offer that would send Angela Kane, the U.N. official in charge of disarmament, along with Ake Sellstrom, who is leading the U.N.'s chemical weapons investigation for Syria. But he says he remains "seriously concerned" about the allegations.

    Sellstrom is due in New York this week to brief Ban on what his team has found in investigations in neighboring countries and from information provided by other U.N. members.


    • Boys carry buckets as they line up to receive free food for their first iftar, or breaking fast, during Ramadan in Raqqa province, eastern Syria July 10, 2013.
    • People walk and on the first day of Ramadan in a passageway separating Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr, which is under the rebels' control, and Al-Masharqa neighborhood, an area controlled by the regime, July 10, 2013.
    • This citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC shows Syrian rebels running during heavy clashes with Syrian soldiers in the Salah al-Din neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, July 9, 2013.
    • Dany, a 14-year-old fighter, whom activists say is the youngest fighter in the Khadraa brigade operating under the Free Syrian Army, walks as he holds his weapon in Deir al-Zor July 9, 2013.
    • People stand at the site of an explosion in Ekrema neighborhood in Homs, Syria, July 8, 2013. (SANA)
    • This citizen journalism image provided by Lens Young Homsi shows black smoke rising from buildings damaged by Syrian government airstrikes and shelling in Homs, Syria, July 7, 2013.
    • Free Syrian Army members react after they fire towards positions of pro-Bashar al-Assad forces in Deir al-Zor, July 7, 2013.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters carry their weapons as they walk along a street prior to an offensive against forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in Aleppo's Salaheddine neighborhood, July 6, 2013.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters get briefed prior to an offensive against forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in Aleppo's Salaheddine neighborhood, July 6, 2013.
    • Damage at the industrial area in the al-Kaboun neighborhood in Damascus after soldiers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad took control of it from the Free Syrian Army, July 6, 2013. (SANA)
    • Damage at the industrial area in the al-Kaboun neighborhood in Damascus after soldiers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad took control of it from the Free Syrian Army, July 6, 2013. (SANA)

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