UN’s Ban Ki-moon urges end to Syria ‘slaughter’
Graphic unverified amateur footage shows a man in Qaboun, Damascus, going house-to-house discovering bloodied corpses, as Jim Muir reports
25 July 2012 Last updated at 19:56
UN chief Ban Ki-moon has urged world leaders to act to halt the “slaughter” in Syria, as thousands of troops reportedly move on the city of Aleppo.
“I make a plea to the world – do not delay… Act now to stop the slaughter…,” Mr Ban said.
His comments came as activists said troops with tanks and armoured vehicles were redeploying to re-take areas of Syria’s second city held by rebels.
Aleppo has seen fierce clashes, with fighter jets and helicopters deployed.
Meanwhile, government forces were reported to have largely repelled a rebel assault on Damascus, but there were further clashes there on Wednesday.
Activists said 23 people were confirmed killed in Damascus, most of them in a “massacre” which took place earlier in the Qaboun neighbourhood.
Video footage released by activists shows streets damaged by shell fire, and the corpses of large numbers of men discovered in several houses.
In other developments:
Human rights group Amnesty International says it is concerned about reports of “summary executions” by Syrian forces and rebels, calling them “serious violations of international law”
Russia’s foreign ministry says it has received “firm assurances” that regime’s chemical weapons stockpile is “fully safeguarded”
The new commander for the UN observer force, Lieutenant General Babacar Gaye, arrived in Damascus, saying he hoped his team would be able to help “alleviate the suffering”
Activists say two more diplomats have defected to Qatar: Cyprus envoy Lamia al-Hariri and her husband Abdelatif al-Dabbagh, ambassador to the United Arab Emirates; one report says Mr Dabbagh was prevented from leaving Damascus