UN's Ban: Syria-Turkey Escalation Is 'Extremely Dangerous'

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also appealed against the flow of arms to Assad regime and rebel forces.

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday that the escalating conflict on the Syrian-Turkish border is "extremely dangerous," and made a strong appeal to stop the flow of arms into the region.

On Sunday, Turkey's military fired artillery on targets inside Syria for a fifth consecutive day, in response to a Syrian mortar that landed on Turkish soil. The exchange kept tensions along the volatile border running high and stoked fears of a regional conflagration.

Speaking at an international conference on democracy in Strasbourg, Ban said that the escalating Turkey-Syria conflict could have serious implications for Lebanon. He added that the situation within Syria had also "dramatically worsened" and was causing "serious risks to the stability of Syria's neighbours and the entire region."

Ban appealed against the continued flow of arms to both the Syrian government and opposition forces, saying that he is"deeply concerned" about it.

A "political solution" is "the only way out of the crisis," he added.

The UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi would return to the region this week to continue international efforts seeking political transition in Syria, the secretary general said.

More than 31,000 people have been killed in the 19-month uprising against President Bashar Assad, the opposition says.

On Monday, Syrian rebels claimed they had made gains in northern areas along the border with Turkey. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the rebels now control a large number of towns along the Turkish border.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivers his speech during the World Forum for Democracy, October 8, 2012 Credit: AP

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