UN chief 'gravely alarmed' at Syria killings

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he is "gravely alarmed" at the continuing killings in Syria despite the government's repeated commitments to end the violence.

The U.N. chief told a news conference Friday that U.N. military observers in Syria are reporting heavy weapons in populated areas, despite Syria's announcement that they had been withdrawn.

He said "the continued repression of the civilian population is totally unacceptable" and "must stop immediately."

Ban said the 13-month conflict has reached "an unacceptable, intolerable stage" and his priority, along with U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, is to accelerate deployment of the 300 U.N. observers authorized by the Security Council.

He expressed hope that their deployment "will change the dynamics on the ground."