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Syria: Security Council highlights escalating crisis and civilian suffering

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Syria: Security Council highlights escalating crisis and civilian suffering


Najat Rochdi, UN Deputy Special Envoy for Syria, told council members that Syria’s dire situation needs political solutions in order for its issues to be sustainably addressed.

‘Climate of fear’

Deputy Special Envoy Rochdi said the security situation in Syria remains violent and tense leaving many civilians in a “climate of fear.”

She pointed to several incidents in Syria in the past few months, including airstrikes reportedly from Israel that claimed the lives of Syrian soldiers and others, a surge in attacks by Security Council-listed terrorist group ISIL across central and northern Syria, and more.

Further, Ms. Rochdi noted that women activists have increasingly reported threats to their personal security. Levels of violence against women and girls, including early and forced marriage, have grown expeditiously.

She said none of these challenges could be “sustainably addressed without a meaningful UN-facilitated political process to implement resolution 2254 that realises the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and restores the sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity of Syria.”

A growing humanitarian crisis

Ms. Rochdi also commented on Syria’s humanitarian crisis, stating that conditions remain in “sharp decline.”

She added that Syrians need unrestricted aid access to relief in all forms, including cross-border and crossline.

Najat Rochdi (on screen), Deputy Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, briefs the Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria.

Najat Rochdi (on screen), Deputy Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, briefs the Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria.

“We are seeing repeated denials for crossline convoys by parties across all Syria – depriving communities from life-saving aid, including in Rukban camp where the situation is particularly dire,” she said.

The Deputy Special Envoy also noted that 174,000 Syrians were displaced within the last year, based on reports from UN refugee agency (UNHCR). These reports further mentioned that 7.2 million civilians in Syria are internally displaced alongside 6.4 million refugees.

“We need to intensify our efforts to find a sustainable solution,” Ms. Rochdi said. “This means tackling the issues that inhibit safe, dignified and voluntary refugee returns.”

Ms. Rochdi said her team will continue engaging with Syrians to “facilitate building a better future” for them.

OCHA’s update

The Coordination Director of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of  Humanitarian Affairs (OHCA), Ramesh Rajasingham, also briefed ambassadors.

He noted that more than half of Syria’s population – about 13 million people – are facing high levels of acute food insecurity, over 650,000 children under five show symptoms of stunting due to severe malnutrition, and a third of the country’s children experience food poverty.

Ramesh Rajasingham, Director of Coordination of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, briefs the Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria.

While humanitarian assistance cannot reverse this crisis, it can save lives and alleviate some of the worst suffering,” Mr. Rajasingham said.

OCHA’s Coordination Director said the UN humanitarian appeal remains less than 13 per cent funded and without change, Syrian civilians will continue to suffer.

He noted that the UN and its partners have managed to provide aid to about 2.7 million people each month, but is worried that without funding, the World Food Programme (WFP) – which recently restarted emergency food deliveries – will not be able to access as many who are severely food insecure.

Mr. Rajasingham said this humanitarian crisis requires “absolute respect for international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians and unhindered humanitarian access” and “sufficient resources so we can continue to provide critical assistance to the millions of people who need it.”



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