U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has written to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad urging him not to use chemical weapons in the country’s escalating conflict, the U.N. press office said on Thursday.

In a readout of a telephone call Ban had with Ahmet Uzumcu, head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the U.N. press office said the U.N. chief told Uzumcu that “any use of such weapons would be an outrageous crime with dire consequences.”

“The Secretary-General informed (Uzumcu) that he has written again to President al-Assad urging him to refrain from the use of any such weapons under any circumstances and underscoring the fundamental responsibility of the Syrian government to ensure the safety and security of any such stockpiles,” it said.


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