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UNITED NATIONS, September 5 (Itar-Tass) —— UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appealed to UN member countries on Tuesday for strong and unified support to the new Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, who took up a “difficult and essential” mission amid an intensifying conflict that shows no sign of abating.
More than 18,000 people, mostly civilians, have died since the uprising against President Bashar al-Asad began nearly 18 months ago. Amidst reports of an escalation in violence in recent weeks in many towns and villages, as well as the country's two biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, UN agencies now estimate that some 2.5 million Syrians are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, the UN news service reported.
“The longer it goes on, the more difficult it will be to contain. The more difficult it will be to find a political solution. The more challenging it will be to rebuild the country and the economy,” Ban told a meeting of the General Assembly.
“This is the context in which Mr. Brahimi takes up his duties,” he stated. “I thank him for taking on this task. It is daunting but not insurmountable.
“To succeed, he needs your united and effective support to help the warring parties realize that the solution will not come through arms, but through dialogue that respects the universal rights and freedoms of all Syrians.”
“Solving this crisis was never going to be easy. But it has become more complex with each passing month,” Ban noted, while also pointing out that the humanitarian situation is “grave and deteriorating” – both in Syria and in neighbors affected by the crisis. The conflict has taken a “particularly brutal turn,” he added, with Syrian forces continuing their indiscriminate shelling of densely populated areas with heavy weapons, tanks and air assets, and opposition groups having stepped up military activity.
Meanwhile, Brahimi told delegates he was looking forward to his visit to Damascus in a few days time, and also, when convenient and possible, to all the countries which were in a position to help the Syrian-led political process become a reality.
“The future of Syria will be built by its own people and none other. The support of the international community is both indispensable and very urgent. It will only be effective if all pull in the same direction,” he stated.