ISTANBUL, May 31 (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned on Thursday that massacres of civilians, such as the one perpetrated in Houla last weekend, could plunge Syria into a devastating civil war.
Ban cited fears raised on Tuesday by Kofi Annan, the joint special envoy for the Arab League and United Nations, that Syria may have already reached a "tipping point" following the slaughter of 108 people in Houla last Friday. The April 12 ceasefire, that forms part of Annan's 6-point plan to restore peace, has so far failed to take hold.
"The massacre of civilians of the sort seen last weekend could plunge Syria into catastrophic civil war - a civil war from which the country would never recover," the U.N. secretary-general told a conference in Istanbul.
(Reporting by Seda Sezer; Writing by Simon Cameron-Moore; Editing by Alison Williams)