Two UN senior officials on Thursday called on the international community to take decisive action to meet its responsibility to protect civilians in Syria from further atrocities.
The officials, Francis Deng and Edward Luck, are special advisors of the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect.
They made the call in a joint statement at the UN Headquarters in New York on Thursday while citing the Syrian government’s failure to protect its people.
"With the increasing violence and deepening sectarian tensions the risk of further mass atrocity crimes is high. The time for action is now," they said.
They called on the international community to take action and meet its "responsibility to protect" people at risk of further atrocities in Syria, taking into consideration "the full range of tools available under the UN Charter."
The officials said they were alarmed by the widespread reports of massacres in attacks that involved a series of government artillery and tank shelling on residential neighbourhoods and alleged attacks against civilians.
They said the massacre of civilians in Houla and Mazraat al-Qubeir, including the brutal assault and murder of women and children at close range, represented an alarming escalation in targeted attacks against civilians.