Syria: Ease suffering, save lives, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator tells Security Council

OCHA/Fadwa Baroud UN vehicle on mission to Rukban, Syria.

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


“Week after week, month after month, year after year”, the Security Council has been briefed on Syria’s humanitarian suffering, and on Tuesday, the UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator once again described “the latest horror facing civilians”, pleading for greater humanitarian access.

“I repeat our call again today” to Syria’s warring parties, said Mark Lowcock, who is also the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs: “Ease the suffering, save lives, end the fighting [and] obey the law”.

Speaking via video link, he noted that this was the Council’s fifth humanitarian briefing on Syria in the last eight weeks. He quoted High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, in summarizing reports of hundreds of civilian casualties and destruction to infrastructure, including hospitals and schools, mainly caused by Government air strikes and to a lesser extent, ground-based armed groups attacks.

“We have repeatedly asked you to make this stop”, Mr. Lowcock pleaded. “It has not stopped, or even slowed”.

A distressing overview

Despite ceasefire efforts in the northwest, hostilities continue unabated. Fighting among Government forces and their allies, armed opposition forces and the Security Council-listed terrorist organization Hayat Tahrir al-Sham continues to impact civilians every day, he said.

Last weekend, “we received reports of airstrikes affecting more than 55 communities in Idlib, Hama and Aleppo governorates, and artillery shelling affecting more than 21 communities”, that claimed 32 civilian lives, including women and children, he added.

In northern rural Hama, seven others, including a child, were reportedly killed by airstrikes and artillery shelling and hundreds of thousands have been displaced.

Mr. Lowcock spoke emotionally about regular attacks on Maarat Al-Numan, in southern Idlib, voicing concern over Maarat National Hospital, which at peak times treated about 20,000 people a month. It is now operating under emergency conditions but remains the main referral hospital in southern Idlib.

“While operating in a conflict zone and in an area under the control of a Security Council-listed terrorist organization”, Mr. Lowcock stressed, “they keep their life-saving services going with the support of humanitarian organizations”.

“There is serious reason to worry”, he continued saying that on 20 June an ambulance was hit, killing the patient and three medical workers and seriously injuring two paramedics. “We must see an end to such attacks on medical workers, transport and facilities. We must see hospitals like Maarat National Hospital protected”.

Beyond Idlib, suffering continues

In Rukban, along the Syrian-Jordanian border, “some 27,000 people remain in desperate need of humanitarian assistance”, he flagged, adding that “inadequate, basic services are costing lives”.

Recalling the UN’s unapproved request for access to Rukban on 9 May, he said “We continue to call for humanitarian access…to deliver life-saving aid, and to assist those who would like to leave the camp”, saying that “another request is being prepared”.

In al-Hol Camp, in northeast Syria, humanitarian agencies continue to respond to the considerable needs of some 73,000 mainly women and children in the camp, particularly in the areas of health, water, sanitation and hygiene.

“At the same time”, Mr. Lowcock said, “we continue to be concerned about restricted humanitarian access to the annex, where 11,000 foreign nationals are living”. Both victims of the terrorist group ISIL and families of former-fighters, are sheltering in the camp.

While some positive reports of foreign national children being repatriated, thousands more in the camp face uncertainty, prompting him to call upon Member States to repatriate their nationals “for rehabilitation and reintegration, or prosecution, as appropriate, in line with international law and standards”.

And in the south of Syria, rising tensions between government forces and local groups threatens to reignite.

“We have repeatedly pleaded for the protection of civilians. To ensure humanitarian access. To ensure that the parties fully abide by their obligation to respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law”, he said.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

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

Markets can accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy

Decades of progress ‘can be wiped out overnight,’ UN chief laments at climate session in Yokohama

The sun’s impact on Earth and weather celebrated, as planet marks World Meteorological Day

The EU and North Korea: A Story of Underestimation

These countries are the most peaceful – in 3 charts

Is history a new NATO weapons against Russia?

Poliomielitis: climatic changes and impossibility in border control

A new bioeconomy strategy for a sustainable Europe

3 things to know about women in STEM

Businesses can lead a revolution in disability inclusion

Digital transformation and the rise of the ‘superjob’

This underwater restaurant teaches you about the ocean while you eat

The Parliament sets the way for the European Banking Union

Migration policy affects attractiveness of OECD countries to international talent

What have the banks done to the markets making them unable to bear cheap oil?

Climate resilience is make or break for businesses. Here’s why

EU budget for 2019: do more for the young, SMEs and the climate, urge MEPs

Chinese tech investors are turning towards MENA. Here’s why

Climate change helped destroy these four ancient civilisations

These are the challenges facing India’s most sacred river

Lessons in disaster relief from the world’s most cyclone-battered state

UN urges protection of indigenous peoples’ rights during migration

Germany is the world’s most innovative economy

Blockchain can change the face of renewable energy in Africa. Here’s how

AI can be a game-changer for the world’s forests. Here’s how

Yemen: UN envoy asks Security Council for more support ‘to move back’ to the negotiating table

This massive project in Spain is the latest milestone in Europe’s solar power boom

Cultural Intelligence: the importance of changing perspectives

What happiness can teach us about how we measure human development

Venezuela: European Parliament calls for additional sanctions

A pandemic of solidarity? This is how people are supporting one another as coronavirus spreads

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Children are so hungry in one British town they are eating from bins

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Transport Industry Drive for Improved Energy Efficiency and Electro-Mobility to Stem High Growth of Emissions

How to make primary healthcare a favourable career choice for medical students: strategies and reflections

China rare earth prices soar on their potential role in trade war

How AI and machine learning are helping to fight COVID-19

A day in the life of a Venezuelan migrant in Boa Vista, Brazil

What makes Copenhagen the world’s most bike-friendly city?

Lack of investment and ambition means Youth Guarantee not reaching potential

What does a good digital ID look like?

Youth unemployment: think out of the box

European Banking Union: Like the issue of a Eurobond?

The Eurogroup has set Cyprus on fire

5 ways Denmark is preparing for the future of work

UN ‘prioritizing needs’, ramping up aid, as Hurricane Dorian continues to batter the Bahamas

UN welcomes ‘record’ Brussels conference pledge of nearly $7 billion to support Syrians

US prosecutors now target Volkswagen’s top management, upsetting Germany

IMF: When high yield goes boom

Austria, Italy, Portugal, Spain receive €279m after natural disasters in 2019

How I met the Panda Woman

Commission sets moderate greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030

Antitrust: Commission seeks feedback on commitments offered by Broadcom concerning TV set-top box and modem chipset markets

Brexit: the Withdrawal Agreement passes the first European Parliament test

Eurozone: There is a remedy for regional convergence

Amending Guatemala ‘reconciliation law’ would lead to unjust amnesty, warns Bachelet

Find unity ‘to halt Libya’s senseless unraveling’, UN envoy urges Security Council

Algorithmic warfare is coming. Humans must retain control

GSMA Outlines New Developments For MWC19 Shanghai

Parliament makes EU electricity market cleaner and more consumer-friendly

More Stings?

Advertising

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