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UN chief says 'well over 8,000 dead in Syria uprising'

March 16, 2012 - Damascus

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that well over 8,000 people have died in Syria over the past year as a result of the President Bashar Assad led government's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

The UN chief raised the death toll from 7,500 in a statement marking the first anniversary of the uprising on Thursday.

"Well over 8,000 are dead as a result of the government's decision to choose violent repression over peaceful political dialogue and genuine change," ABC News quoted Ban, as saying.

He said the "brutal repression" by Syrian authorities is continuing unabated and called the status quo "indefensible."

Ban urged the government and opposition to cooperate with international envoy Kofi Annan to stop the bloodshed and find a political solution.

"It is urgent to break the cycle of violence, stop military operations against civilians and prevent a further militarization of the conflict in Syria," he added.


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