Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is facing international pressure to end a crackdown on anti-government protestors, is not taking the U.N. chief's phone calls, the United Nations said on Friday.
U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky confirmed a report by Kuwait news agency KUNA that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had been trying to call Assad on Thursday, but was told the president was not available, Reuters reported. Actually, Ban has been trying to get a hold of Assad all week, but has been unable to get through to him, Nesirky said.
Ban has urged Assad to end what he called violent repression and human rights abuses by Syrian forces, who rights groups say have killed over 1,100 civilians since March. A Syrian activist group said Syrian security forces killed 28 civilians at pro-democracy demonstrations on Friday.
U.N. Security Council diplomats met in New York on Friday in an attempt to break their deadlock on a European-drafted resolution that would not impose sanctions on Syria but condemn it for the crackdown and suggest Syrian security forces might be guilty of crimes against humanity.
In the last week, more than 2,400 Syrian refugees fled into neighboring Turkey, with the numbers expected to grow as Syrians continue to cross the border to escape potential violence.
Civil unrest began in Syria twelve weeks ago. According to Turkish officials, refugees started to enter Turkey on April 29, soon after the government began clashing with the protestors in March. Earlier this week, a protest in the border town of Jisr al-Shughur turned violent and 120 people were killed, according to Syrian officials.