• Syria death toll tops 100,000

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    DAMASCUS: More than 100,000 people have now been killed in the Syrian civil war, United Nations (UN) leader Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday (Friday in Manila), as he appealed for new efforts to convene a peace conference.

    The UN chief and United States (US) Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters at the United Nations there could be no military solution to the 28-month-old conflict, which began as peaceful protests inspired by the Arab Spring but rapidly boiled over into an all-out war.

    “More than 100,000 people have been killed, millions of people have either been displaced or become refugees in neighboring countries,” Ban said.

    “We have to bring this to an end. The military and violent actions must be stopped by both parties, and it is thus imperative to have a peace conference in Geneva as soon as possible.”

    Violence continued to rage in the flashpoint city of Homs while a car bombing in Damascus killed 17 people, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

    The United States and Russia vowed in May to press for a follow-up to a peace conference held in Geneva last year that set out a transition plan.

    However, divisions in the international community and disagreements between the Syrian regime and the fractured opposition have stymied efforts to convene the meeting.

    As the UN chief pressed for peace efforts, the main Syrian opposition group again demanded US arms, saying the situation had grown “desperate” following recent regime advances.

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