UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says potential crimes against humanity are taking place in Syria as President Bashar al-Assad's regime pursues an 11-month-old crackdown against opponents.
Speaking in Vienna, Ban said, "We see neighborhoods shelled indiscriminately, hospitals used as torture centers, children as young as 10 years old killed and abused. We see almost certain crimes against humanity."
China earlier announced it would send its vice foreign minister, Zhai Jun, to Syria on February 17 to push for a “peaceful” resolution of the conflict.
The Chinese announcement came ahead of a scheduled vote on February 16 in the UN General Assembly on a nonbinding resolution that would condemn the Assad regime for human rights violations and support Arab League calls for him to step down.
On the eve of the expected vote, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch urged the General Assembly to call on the Syrian government "to put an end to all human rights violations, and to demand accountability for the crimes committed."
Compiled from agency reports