Published: Friday, July 26, 2013

‘Syria death toll above 100,000′

More than 100,000 people have now been killed in the Syria civil war, UN leader Ban Ki-moon said Thursday as he appealed for new efforts to convene a peace conference.
The UN chief and US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters before talks at the UN headquarters that there could be no military solution to the 28-month-old conflict.
While Syrian activists say the death toll is well over 100,000, the UN had been more cautious. One month ago it said about 93,000 had died.
But on Thursday, Ban said: “More than 100,000 people have been killed, millions of people have either been displaced or become refugees in neighboring countries.
“We have to bring this to an end. The military and violent actions must be stopped by both parties, and it is thus imperative to have a peace conference in Geneva as soon as possible.”
The United States and Russia vowed in May to press for a follow up to a peace conference held in Geneva last year, which set out a transition plan.
However, divisions between Syrian opposition groups and diplomatic hurdles thrown up by President Bashar al-Assad’s government have blocked efforts to call a new meeting.
Syrian National Coalition president Ahmad Jarba is in New York on Thursday and was to hold talks with Kerry ahead of a meeting with UN Security Council envoys on Friday.
Kerry said there are “enormous levels of suffering, suffering that is growing by the day, which requires all of us to work even harder to try to bring about peace negotiations.”
He added: “There is no military solution to Syria, there is only a political solution. That will require leadership in order to bring people to the table.”