The Straits Times
Published on Sep 05, 2012

UN leader Ban says Syria arms suppliers spreading 'misery'


UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - UN leader Ban Ki Moon on Tuesday accused countries who send arms to Syria of spreading "misery" as he called for greater international efforts to end the war and ease a mounting humanitarian crisis.

"Those who provide arms to either side are only contributing to further misery - and the risk of unintended consequences as the fighting intensifies and spreads," Mr Ban told the 193-member United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

Mr Ban did not name any country but Russia is President Bashar al-Assad's main arms supplier while UN officials say Iran has made arms deliveries to his forces. The Syrian government accuses Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey of arming the opposition. The United States (US) and Britain say they give non-lethal assistance to the opposition.

The UN secretary general said there had to be greater international support behind the efforts of new UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to end the 18-month-old conflict, which activists say has left more than 26,000 dead. The UN says about 20,000 have died.