UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is demanding a cease-fire in Syria before peace talks between the government and opposition begin in Geneva on Jan. 22.
The U.N. chief says that in 2013 "the Syrian conflict deteriorated beyond all imagination."
He said "the people in Syria cannot afford another year, another month, even another day of brutality and destruction."
Ban urged all countries with power and influence on the parties to demand that they stop fighting before the Geneva conference so that a political solution to the 2 1/2-year conflict can be reached. He stressed that there are no military solutions.
Ban told reporters Monday that "We must have cessation of hostilities before we begin political dialogue on Syria in Geneva."
He said he plans to discuss a cease-fire with the Security Council.