Gravely concerned at heavy fighting in Homs, Syria, Secretary-General urges warring sides to Avoid civilian casualties, allow trapped persons to leave Warring Sides to Avoid Civilian Casualties, Allow Trapped Persons to Leave

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The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General is following with grave concern the escalating conflict in Syria, in particular, the developing situation in Homs, where heavy fighting has been raging in recent days.

An estimated 2,500 civilians remain trapped in Homs. The Secretary-General calls on the warring sides to do their utmost to avoid civilian casualties and to allow immediate humanitarian access, as well as opportunities for trapped civilians to leave without fear of persecution. He reminds all combatants of their obligations under international law and underscores that those responsible for any atrocities will be held to account. The Secretary-General expresses his concern over threats to seize two Shiite villages in the northern Province of Aleppo.

The Secretary-General calls again for stopping the supply of arms to all sides and appeals to the parties in Syria and their supporters to focus, instead, on the search for a political solution that remains the only way out of this tragedy.

For information media • not an official record