United Nations (CNN) -- The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday issued a statement condemning the Syrian government's crackdown on protesters and calling for an immediate end to violence by all parties.
"The Security Council expresses its grave concern at the deteriorating situation in Syria, and expresses profound regret at the death of many hundreds of people," the eight-paragraph statement says. It further calls for "all sides to act with utmost restraint, and to refrain from reprisals, including attacks against state institutions."
The statement says those responsible for the violence should be held accountable but offers no suggestion that foreign intervention is being considered.
"The Security Council reaffirms its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Syria," it says. "It stresses that the only solution to the current crisis in Syria is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process, with the aim of effectively addressing the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the population which will allow the full exercise of fundamental freedoms for its entire population, including that of expression and peaceful assembly."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he welcomes the statement. "The world has watched the deteriorating situation in Syria with the most profound concern, but the events of the past few days have been brutally shocking," he told reporters. "Once again, I call on President (Bashar al-) Assad and the Syrian authorities to immediately cease all violence against their people, to fully respect human rights and implement reforms that they have already announced."
He further urged Damascus to comply with the Security Council's demand that international humanitarian organizations be granted unimpeded access to affected areas. "Those responsible should be held to account," he said.
He praised the 15-nation Security Council for speaking out "with one voice and condemning all this violence and asking them to take necessary measures" after long discussions on the matter.
But Lebanon's ambassador, Caroline Ziade, said her country, which is Syria's neighbor, dissociated itself from the statement. However, Lebanon chose not to block the measure, as it could have done.
Though a resolution would have been more significant than the presidential statement approved Wednesday, U.S. diplomats said they are glad the United Nations has taken a stance.
CNN's Richard Roth and Joe Vaccarello contributed to this story