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    UN Security Council Weighs Syria Statement

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has reiterated calls for an end to the violence in Syria, as the Security Council considers a draft statement backing U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's mission to halt the crisis.

    Speaking at a conference in Jakarta, Ban said the world must take action to address the situation in Syria.

    "We do not know how events will unfold.  But we do know that we all have a responsibility to work for a resolution of this profound and extremely dangerous situation and crisis that has potentially massive repercussions for the region of the world," Ban said.

    The Security Council draft, called a presidential statement and obtained by VOA, expresses "full support" for Annan's mission to end all violence, secure humanitarian access and work toward a Syrian-led political transition.

    It also calls for Annan to report back to the Council in a "timely manner," after which the Council will consider "further steps as appropriate."

    The Security Council is considering the draft under what is known as "silence procedure."  If no member raises objections by the deadline of 9 a.m. New York time (1300 GMT), the statement will be adopted without a vote.

    Annan sent a five-member team of international experts to Syria on Sunday to try to secure a cease-fire between government and rebel forces leading an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's 11-year autocratic rule.  Annan discussed his peace plan with Mr. Assad in Damascus earlier this month, but has said little about it since.

    Syrian activists say government troops shelled several opposition hubs across the country on Tuesday, killing at least 10 people in the central regions of Homs, Hama and elsewhere.  They say one soldier also was killed in southern Syria.  State news agency SANA said seven other security personnel were buried Tuesday, after being killed in fighting with rebels.

    The United Nations says at least 8,000 people have been killed in the Assad government's violent crackdown on the revolt, which began with peaceful protests and became increasingly militarized as army defectors attacked pro-Assad troops who assaulted civilians.

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