May 31 - U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warns that massacres of civilians in Syria could cast the country into a devastating civil war. Simon Hanna reports.
Massacres of civilians in Syria - like this one in Houla last week in which 108 men, women and children died - could result in a civil war, according to U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon. The bloodshed in Houla sparked a global outcry, and Ban, speaking in neighbouring Turkey, warned of grave consequences. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL BAN KI MOON: "Joint special envoy Mr. Kofi Anna has expressed his concerns that we may have reached a tipping point in Syria, that the massacre of civilians of the sort seen last weekend could plunge Syria into a catastrophic civil war, a civil war from which the country would never recover." Ban also reiterated the importance of finding a political solution to the crisis. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.N. SECRETARY GNERAL BAN KI MOON: "The more the international community knows, the more likely it is that we can advance on our most important goal to help find a political solution -- a solution that safeguards the lives and interests of all the Syrian people." Following the Houla massacre Syrian rebels gave President Bashar al-Assad a 48 hour deadline till midday Friday to comply with the international peace plan before they renew their battle to overthrow him. Simon Hanna, Reuters