UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon slammed the Security Council on Wednesday for failing to take stronger action on Syria, saying that its paralysis over how to end the 18-month conflict was harming the Syrian people and damaging its own credibility.

As Syria spirals deeper into civil war, the 15-member council has become deadlocked with Russia and China blocking three Western-backed resolutions that criticized Syria's President Bashar Assad and threatened sanctions.

"The council's paralysis does the Syrian people harm. It also damages its own credibility," Ban told an informal General Assembly debate on the 2005 UN concept of "responsibility to protect" civilians threatened by their own governments.

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