Syria: Civilians caught in crossfire, UN refugee chief urges Jordan to open its border

UNICEF/Alaa Al-Faqir
Families displaced from Rural Quneitra, southwest Syria, to areas near the Golan. Families are seeking shelter in open areas and camps and are reported to have significant shelter needs.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

The head of the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, appealed on Thursday for Jordan to open its border with south-west Syria to help protect around 750,000 civilians who are “caught in the crossfire”, amidst airstrikes and heavy shelling.

“More than 320,000 people are now displaced and most are living in dire and insecure conditions, including some 60,000 people camped at the Nasib/Jaber border crossing with Jordan,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi said, in a statement.

Although local communities in Syria have opened their doors to take in many of the displaced, most are forced to live in open spaces or in makeshift shelters that offer little safety and protection from the elements, he added.

“There are large numbers of women and children among the displaced, as well as elderly, injured and sick people and I am especially concerned about them,” he continued, adding that among the displaced are local humanitarian workers who have “selflessly served the civilian population throughout the duration of the conflict.”

Mr. Grandi underscored the immediate priority of finding a political solution to the conflict to spare civilians further suffering. Fighting between pro-Syrian government forces and opposition militia, has been intensifying for weeks across Dara’a Governorate, close to the Jordanian border, as well as the Golan Heights border area with Israel.

He said that while the UN and partners are doing what they can to deliver life-saving aid to the people of south-west Syria – both from within the country and across the Jordanian border – the security situation is hindering efforts to reach many people in dire need.

“I call on all parties to redouble efforts to cease hostilities, to allow humanitarian actors to deliver life-saving assistance, shelter and evacuate the wounded,” Mr. Grandi said, spelling out that civilian protection, safety and security along with that of humanitarian workers is of “utmost importance.”

It is “a core principle of international humanitarian law that needs to be guaranteed by all parties to the conflict and the international community at large,” he stressed.

“I commend Jordan for generously providing protection to hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees since the beginning of the crisis and for providing and facilitating assistance to those in need inside Syria,” he said.

But, “given the immediate dangers,” added Mr. Grandi, “I am advocating for granting temporary refuge in Jordan to those in need of safety and for the international community to provide immediate and substantive support to Jordan, in a spirit of solidarity and responsibility sharing.”

Underscoring that UNHCR is prepared to immediately scale up its assistance inside Syria and to Jordan, the High Commissioner concluded: “Thousands of innocent lives are going to be lost, once again, if urgent action is not taken.”

In a statement issued by his spokesperson later on Thursday, Secretary-General António Guterres said that he was “gravely concerned by the resumption of the military offensive in southwest Syria and its continued devastating impact on civilians.”

“The Secretary-General fully supports today’s statement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi,” said Stéphane Dujarric, adding that there needed to be an “immediate suspension” of hostilities and the resumption of negotiations.

“He calls on all parties to take all necessary measures to safeguard civilian lives, allow freedom of movement, and protect civilian infrastructure, including medical and educational facilities, at all times, in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” the statement continued.

“The Secretary-General further reiterates his call for the United Nations to be allowed to conduct cross-border and cross line humanitarian deliveries to resume without further delay for the benefit of people in need within Syria,” it concluded.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How Europe beat the financial crisis – and the risks it still faces

On the euro but out of it?

Commission presents far-reaching anti-tax evasion measures

Conflicts and extreme climate change threatens access to food in 39 countries – UN agriculture report

EU budget: Stepping up the EU’s role as a security and defence provider

MEPs and European Youth Forum call on EU to Invest in Youth

Brexit Update: EU endorses unprecedented compromise to help Cameron out of the referendum mess he got himself into

Will the EU ever tackle the migration crisis despite the lack of political will?

Facebook and Google to treat Europe as the 51st State of the USA

UN gender agency hails record-breaking number of women in new US Congress as ‘historic victory’

‘Stealing’ food from hungry Yemenis ‘must stop immediately’, says UN agency

The EU launches € 1 billion plan on supercomputers and tries to catch-up with competitors

Water is a growing source of global conflict. Here’s what we need to do

‘Once lost, hearing doesn’t come back,’ World Health Organization warns on World Hearing Day

Technology is a force for peace and prosperity. Don’t let its challenges obscure this

For how long will terror and economic stagnation be clouding the European skies?

Recession: the best argument for growth

Hazy ‘breakthrough’ saves PM May, leaves Ireland in limbo: Brexit

Health conditions for citizens of Yemen’s key port city ‘remain critical’ says UN agency

Brazil: A strategic partner for the EU

Diversity training doesn’t change people’s behaviour. We need to find out what does

Migration surge leaves children stranded, begging on Djibouti’s streets

UN receives ‘Humanium’ wristwatch gift, symbolizing peaceful transformation

The Italian crisis may act as a catalyst for less austerity

MWC 2016 LIVE: Qualcomm looks to pick up Hamilton’s winning ways

Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition, in Brussels - Berlaymont, last week. (Copyright European Union, 2017 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Lukasz Kobus)

Amazon, Luxembourg and Ireland hit by EU’s latest turn of the screw over competition

Guterres condemns killing of Bangladeshi peacekeeper in South Sudan, during armed attack on UN convoy

Africa is ‘on the rise’, says UN chief Guterres, urging collaboration for better future

Commission Vice-President Rehn exaggerates Eurozone’s growth prospects

Ukraine pays the price for lying between Russia and the EU

The importance of pre-departure training for a better understanding of global health issues

Volkswagen scandal update: “We want clarity fast, but it is equally important to have the complete picture”, Commission’s spokesperson underscores from Brussels

ECB should offer more and cheaper liquidity if Eurozone is to avoid recession

Further reforms needed for a stronger and more inclusive Argentine economy

Italy’s dilemma after Merkel-Hollande agreed loose banking union

UN chief pays tribute to Egypt’s role in avoiding ‘dramatic’ escalation in conflict across the Gaza-Israel border

UN chief condemns deadly attacks in Afghanistan

Sustainable Infrastructure and Connectivity in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): a stimulating China-EU dialogue at European Business Summit 2018

5 lessons for the future success of virtual and augmented reality

4 ways blockchain will transform the mining and metals industry

Who threatens the lives and livelihoods of Ukrainians?

Why climate change matters for future health professionals

EU Parliament says ‘no’ to austerity budget

Which countries have the highest unemployment rates?

Here are 4 of the most politically charged World Cup games ever played

What little Cameron got in Brussels seems enough to keep Britain in the EU

‘Rare but devastating’ tsunamis underscore need for better preparation, UN chief urges on World Day

Draghi will not hesitate to zero ECB’s basic interest rate

EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey: EUR 400 million Special Measure on education adopted

World Summit Awards 2016: Sustainable impact through digital innovation

EU legislation protecting home buyers approved in Parliament

“The Arctic climate matters: to what degree?”, a Sting Exclusive co-authored by UN Environment’s Jan Dusik and Slava Fetisov

The sustainable fashion revolution is well underway. These 5 trends prove it

Sweden to reach its 2030 renewable energy target this year

Youth2030: UN chief launches bold new strategy for young people ‘to lead’

High unemployment to continue haunting the EU

A Sting Exclusive: “Delivering on the Environmental Dimension of the new Sustainable Development Agenda”, Ulf Björnholm underscores from UNEP Brussels

New rules for temporary border controls within the Schengen area

Parliaments broadly agree on next steps for economic, monetary union

Brain drain 2017: why do medical students need to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s