United Nations: Expressing the concern over heightened Syrian government crackdown on protests, UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday said more than 1000 people were dead since mid-March.  

“The secretary general is alarmed at the escalation of violence in Syria, which has reportedly left at least 70 killed over the past week alone, bringing the total casualties since mid-March to over 1,000 dead, many more injured and thousands arrested,” said a UN spokeswoman Vannina Maestracci.

It was the first death toll from the protests given by the UN leadership.

Ban is “deeply troubled by the continued serious violations of human rights, including disturbing reports of the deaths of children under torture, live ammunition and shelling. All killings should be investigated fully, independently and transparently.”

The UN secretary general noted President Bashar al-Assad’s announcement of an amnesty and national dialogue committee.

“He emphasizes, however, that violent repression by security and military forces must end immediately for a genuine and inclusive dialogue to take place and lead to the comprehensive reforms and change called for by the Syrian people,” said the spokeswoman.