Syrian Civil war
The conflict in Syria has reached "unprecedented levels of horror", peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has told the UN Security Council.
The UN-Arab League envoy said Syria was being destroyed "bit by bit" with grave consequences for the wider region.
He was speaking hours after evidence emerged of a fresh massacre in the northern city of Aleppo.
At least 71 bodies were found by a river in the western Bustan al-Qasr district, opposition activists said.
Most had their hands tied behind their backs and gunshot wounds to the head.
Mr Brahimi has been trying to find a solution to the crisis based on a peace plan approved at an international conference in June 2012.
The UN says the conflict has left more than 60,000 people dead.
The BBC’s Barbara Plett at the UN says Mr Brahimi delivered a blunt assessment of the situation in Syria that reflected his frustration with the deadlock in the Security Council.
"Unprecedented levels of horror have been reached. The tragedy does not have an end," Mr Brahimi told a closed meeting of the 15-member council, according to diplomats.
"The country is breaking up before everyone’s eyes. Only the international community can help, and first and foremost the Security Council."
The Syrian civil war, also referred to as the Syrian uprising, is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Syrian Ba’ath Party government and those seeking to oust it. The conflict began on 15 March 2011 with nationwide demonstrations, as part of the wider protest movement known as the Arab Spring. Protesters demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, the present personification of his family’s decades-long rule, as well as the end to nearly five decades of Ba’ath Party rule.
In April 2011, the Syrian Army was deployed to quell the uprising and soldiers were ordered to open fire on demonstrators. After months of military sieges, the protests evolved into an armed rebellion. Opposition forces, mainly composed of defected soldiers and civilian volunteers, became increasingly armed and organized as they unified into larger groups, with some groups receiving military aid from several foreign countries. However, the rebels remained fractured, without organized leadership. The Syrian government characterizes the insurgency as an uprising of "armed terrorist groups and foreign mercenaries". The conflict has no clear fronts, with clashes taking place in many towns and cities across the country.
Syrian opposition leader Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib says he is prepared to enter talks with the Assad regime.
Syria is being destroyed bit by bit. And in destroying Syria, the region is being pushed into a situation that is extremely bad and extremely important for the entire world. That is why I believe the security council simply cannot continue to say ‘we are disagreement, therefore, let’s wait for better times’. I think they have got to grapple with this problem no.
The Geneva declaration that contains, indeed, a lot of elements that would provide for a reasonable solution to the conflict cannot be implemented as it is. It needs action from the council and I have suggested a few ideas to them.
The UN Security Council has been divided over Syria for months.
The US, UK, France and other Western powers have pushed for resolutions that threaten sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
However, Russia and China have vetoed such resolutions three times. Moscow – a close ally of Syria – also refuses to back calls for Mr Assad to step down.
Earlier, video footage of the gruesome discovery in Aleppo was posted by activists on YouTube.
It showed a large number of bodies strewn in and around the banks of the Quwaiq river, which skirts the western side of Aleppo.
The bodies were caked in mud and showed signs of rigor mortis. There were also signs of blood having poured from many of the heads.
The government and opposition have blamed each other for the killings.
The district of Bustan al-Qasr has been hotly contested since fighting broke out in Aleppo last July, correspondents say.
Soyrce: BBC, Wiki, guardian, theatlantic.