Speaking to Bashar al-Assad by telephone on Saturday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the Syrian President to immediately halt the use of force against civilians.
Mr. Ban expressed his strong concern and that of the international community at the mounting violence and death toll in Syria over the past days, according to a read out of the conversation issued by the Secretary-General's spokesperson.
Around 2,000 people are reported to have been killed in clashes in Syria since protesters took to the streets in mid-March demanding greater civil liberties. The violent crackdown by the authorities has received widespread condemnation from the UN, including the Security Council and top officials, as well as world leaders.
In response to the President's reference to the large number of lives lost among the security forces and police, Mr. Ban said he condemned the violence against both the civilians as well as security forces.
He also underscored that the use of force and mass arrests must stop immediately for the President's recently announced reform measures to have any credibility.
The Secretary-General reiterated his call on the Syrian Government to receive missions from the international humanitarian agencies and from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The protests in Syria are part of a wave of popular uprisings witnessed across North Africa and the Middle East since the start of this year that have already toppled regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, and led to ongoing conflict in Libya.