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UN's Ban Urges Assad To Halt Syria Violence


Thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing the unrest in their country have ended up across the border in Turkey.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today he had spoken to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and urged him to "stop killing people" and to engage in dialogue.

Speaking to journalists during a visit to Brazil's capital, Ban also said he hoped the United Nations would be able to speak in a "coherent" manner over Syria.

The Syrian Army over the weekend launched an operation in Idlib Province after 120 security personnel were killed in Jisr al-Shughour by what the government says were "armed groups."

The opposition says they were defectors who were executed by fellow soldiers.

Human rights activists say more than 1,400 Syrians have been killed since the uprising against Assad's regime began in mid-March.

More than 8,000 Syrians have fled over the border to Turkey.

Meanwhile, a Syria-based human rights activist says security forces have arrested hundreds of men in Idlib Province.

Mustafa Osso says the arrests are mainly concentrated in the Jisr al-Shughour area, the town of Maaret al-Numan, and nearby villages.

He says troops on June 16 opened fire on the outskirts of Maaret al-Numan, a town of 100,000 on the highway linking Damascus with Syria's second-largest city, Aleppo. No casualties were reported.

compiled from agency reports