By Mick Krever
(CNN) – Despite U.N. monitors’ struggle to contain violence in Syria, the U.N. Secretary General told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour Thursday that there was no fallback.
“At this time, we don’t have a Plan B,” Ban Ki-moon said.
The nearly 300 monitors deployed across five Syria cities are making “all possible efforts to stop violence” and have had “some dampening effect,” Ban said.
But, he conceded, “We were not able to completely cease the violence.”
Ban said that within the coming days, the full 300 observers authorized by the Security Council last month would be on the ground.
“They are patrolling every day, whenever possible,” he said. “They try their best to cease this violence. It requires strong political will at the level of President Assad, and also it requires full cooperation by the opposition forces.”
Ban said that “minimum 9,000” people had been killed in the conflict, which began more than a year ago. “I believe this number will have increased much more now,” he said.
An independent panel appointed by the U.N. reported Thursday that “gross violations continue unabated” in Syria.
The International Commission of Inquiry on Syria said that torture and arbitrary arrest are rampant in the war-torn country, and that the conflict is becoming “increasingly militarized.”
“Those are totally unacceptable violations of human rights,” Ban said. “The perpetrators must be held accountable.”
A broadening crisis, in- and outside of Syria
When a massive car bomb exploded in the Syrian capital Damascus in May, Ban quickly blamed the attack on al Qaeda, saying that the organization “must be” behind it.
He distanced himself from those comments Thursday, saying, “We do not have any clear evidence what al Qaeda was behind.”
Nonetheless, “considering the scale and sophistication of the terrorist attacks,” he said, “it seems to be clear that there are certain organizations and groups with … clear political intent.”
Tensions in Syria’s neighbor, Lebanon, have also been high of late. Clashes erupted earlier this week following the killing of two religious clerics opposed to Bashar al-Assad’s rule in Syria.
“We are entering into a pivotal moment,” Ban said. “We are very much worried about this kind of spillover effect. … We have to prevent this.”
A council divided
When the U.N. Security Council voted last month to authorize a monitoring mission in Syria, it was a rare moment of unity.
“When Security Council is united, we can see much difference,” Ban said. “Unfortunately, Security Council at the beginning of this crisis was not united.”
This February and last October, Russia and China issued rare double vetoes of draft resolutions condemning the violence in Syria.
Ban said that those countries are now “in full support” of the monitoring mission. But they remain wary of authorizing further intervention, saying the current process should be allowed to play out.
Ban urged the Security Council, and the international community at large, to be united in its response to Syria.
“It’s very sad. Civilian people have suffered too long,” he said. “This atrocity must be stopped at any cost.”
CNN’s Juliet Fuisz produced this piece for television.