Ban tells Assad killings must stop in Syria

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UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to immediately stop the killings of civilians and to accept an international probe on human rights violations.

"There are continuous killings of civilian people. These killings must stop immediately," said the UN chief in Bern.

"I told Assad, 'stop before it is to late'," said Ban, noting that thousands have perished in the regime's brutal crackdown on dissent.

"It is unacceptable that 3,000 people have been killed.

"UN is urging him again to take urgent action," he said.

The UN secretary-general also called on Assad to accept an international commission of inquiry into the violations.

The UN Human Rights Council had ordered in April a probe into the situation in Syria earlier this year, but Damascus had blocked investigators from entering the country.

During an emergency session in August, the council commissioned another probe.

At the end of September, the head of the investigation team said his team hoped to be allowed to visit Syria, although it had not yet been in contact with the Syrian authorities.

© 2011 AFP

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