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UN Chief Calls For Restraint In Middle East After Golan Violence


An Israeli patrol along Israel's border with Syria, as seen from the Druze village of Majdal Shams today
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for restraint after the June 5 clashes along Syria's frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

In a statement, the UN secretary-general condemned "the use of violence and all actions intended to provoke violence."

Syria says 23 people were killed when Israeli troops opened fire on protesters approaching the frontier fence.

Israel says the protesters were trying to breach the border, and disputes the death toll.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime of orchestrating the protests in an attempt to divert attention from its bloody suppression of a popular uprising against Assad's authoritarian rule.

"What we are seeing on the Golan is a deliberate provocation, an attempt to violently crash through the border and enter Israel illegally," Regev said. "This could not be happening without the acquiescence of the Syrian regime, which has apparently taken a decision to increase tension on the frontier in order to divert attention from the real problems they face at home."

Reports today said Syrian police had set up checkpoints and were preventing people from approaching the frontier.

compiled from agencies reports