UNITED NATIONS, March 12 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday called upon all the parties concerned to reflect on the Syrian crisis as it enters its fourth year, saying that "Syria is now the biggest humanitarian and peace and security crisis facing the world."
"Three years ago, the Syrian people stood up in peaceful protest to demand their universal rights and freedoms," said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesman. "In response came brutal force, escalating bloodshed and the devastation of civil war."
"As the conflict now enters its fourth year, the secretary- general appeals to all to reflect upon the long and growing list of horrors taking place in Syria every day," the statement said.
Ban said hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost or destroyed, with hundreds of people more killed every day; cities and villages have been reduced to rubble; extremists are imposing their radical ideologies; communities are threatened and attacked.
Millions have been forced to flee violence and deprivation; weapons are flowing in, adding fuel to the fire, and they are being used indiscriminately; acts of terrorism are a daily reality; grave crimes remain unpunished and thousands remain in captivity without due process; and the world's cultural heritage is under grave threat, he added.
The UN estimates more than 100,000 people were killed and that some 6.3 million people have been internally displaced since the conflict broke out in March 2011 in the Middle East country.
"Over the past year, this conflict also saw the worst use of weapons of mass destruction in the 21st century," he said.
Chemical weapons were confirmed used in the Syrian conflict, and a joint mission of the United Nations and the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was set up to rid Syria of its chemical weapons by June this year.
"Syria is now the biggest humanitarian and peace and security crisis facing the world, with violence reaching unthinkable levels, " the statement said. "Syria's neighbors are bearing the increasingly unbearable humanitarian, security, political and socio-economic effects of this conflict."
More than 2 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries, including Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, UN figures showed.
"The Secretary-General deeply regrets the inability of the international community, the region and the Syrians themselves to put a stop to this appalling conflict," said the statement.
"The Syrian people desperately need an end to violence and a clean break from the past to move towards a new Syria, where their legitimate aspirations are met and all communities are protected," the statement said.
"Only a political solution will end the nightmare of the Syrian people," it said.
"The secretary-general appeals to the region and the international community and in particular to the Russian Federation and the United States, as the initiating States of the Geneva Conference on Syria, to take clear steps to re-energize the Geneva process," the statement said.
On Feb. 15, the second round negotiations of the Geneva II international conference on Syria concluded without achieving tangible results, said UN-Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, who mediated the peace negotiations between the Syrian government and the opposition.
The two rounds of Syria peace talks have not seen rift healed. The government insisted on putting an end to violence and terrorism as a top priority, while the opposition focused on establishing a transitional governing body with full executive authority and without the presence of Syrian President Bashar al- Assad.
"The secretary-general strongly urges the Syrian government and opposition to exercise responsibility, leadership, vision and flexibility to rise to the challenge," the statement said.