UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has renewed a call on Syria not to use chemical weapons, saying their use would amount to an “outrageous crime in the name of humanity.”
The regime has insisted it would never use chemical weapons, of which it is believed to have one of the world’s largest stocks, against the Syrian people. NBC reported on Thursday that forces loyal to President Bashar Assad had already locked and loaded precursory chemicals for deadly nerve agent sarin into bombs which could be dropped from planes.
Ban on Friday also called for an end to the violence to allow a “political dialogue” and urged the UN Security Council to “stand united and act decisively” to end the crisis.
Ban spoke to reporters after a visit to refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey for Syrians and appealed for more aid to help the hundreds of thousands who have fled the violence.
“I call on the international community and particularly the countries of the region to provide on (an) urgent basis humanitarian assistance,” he said at the Zaatari camp in Jordan. Approximately 250,000 Syrian refugees have sought safety in Jordan since the civil war began 21 months ago.
“We cannot close our eyes while people are suffering and dying. We have to help them,” Ban entreated. “The United Nations is working hard to alleviate the suffering of Syrians inside and outside their country.”
“(The) UN appeal for humanitarian assistance has been only half funded. We have witnessed a tripling in the number of refugees,” and “any serious escalation in Syria would lead to a dramatic increase” in the number of those who fled Syria.
The Syrian civil war has left more than 42,000 people dead since its inception in March 2011, according to opposition group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Eighty-three were killed across the country on Thursday, the group reported.