The United Nations is “extremely concerned” by reports that medical facilities and vehicles were being used to carry out violence in Syria’s 18-month conflict, a spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday.
“The secretary-general is extremely concerned that the spiral of violence in Syria is creating a fertile ground for terrorism and criminal actions of all kinds. All violence must stop,” Ban spokesman Martin Nesirky said in a statement.
“Medical facilities, equipment and personnel must not be targeted or used for military purposes,” the statement said, according to Reuters. “All parties involved in the conflict must respect international humanitarian law and ensure that civilians are not targeted.”
Nesirky did not say whether it was forces supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, rebels or both who were reportedly using or targeting medical facilities or vehicles, which could constitute a serious war crime.
Ban also renewed his call for a political solution to the nearly 19 months of violence that have shaken Syria, urging all sides to move toward a political dialogue with international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.
The secretary-general issued his remarks after the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a nongovernmental group, said twin suicide bombings hit an air force compound near Damascus, according to AFP.
The group said “dozens of people” died in the blasts, and that the fate of “hundreds of prisoners” held in the building’s basement was unknown.
Ban expressed concern about the welfare of those detainees.
“The secretary-general reiterates that no cause can justify terrorist attacks, wherever, whenever and by whomever they are committed,” Nesirky said, adding that resorting to continued violence “will only lead to more suffering and destruction.”
Activists say more than 32,000 people have been killed in the uprising against Assad, which began as peaceful pro-democracy protests. The United Nations said that up to 335,000 Syrian refugees had fled the violence.