BRIJUNI, Croatia - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday he is sending an envoy to Syria to assess the situation there as Syrian government forces and rebels battle for control of the country.

"I am sending my Undersecretary General for Peacekeeping Operations (Hervé Ladsous) to Syria to assess the situation as well as the top UN military advisor to lead UNSMIS (mission) in this critical phase," Ban said after meeting top Croatian officials in the Adriatic resort of Brijuni.

Ban's remarks came a day after the UN Security Council approved a 30-day extension for an unarmed observer mission, the only international military mission on the ground, and after Russia and China vetoed a resolution to impose further sanctions on the government of Syrian president Bashar Assad.

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"The unanimous vote yesterday on Resolution 2051 is a constructive sign," Ban said.

Ban called on the UN Security Council to "redouble efforts to forge a united way forward and exercise its collective responsibility."

"The Syrian government has manifestly failed to protect civilians and the international community has collective responsibility to live up to the UN Charter and act on its principles," he said.

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