Syria: Guterres demands ‘renewed energy’ for peace as war enters 12th year


“Now is the time for us to act in unison secure a nationwide ceasefire, promote the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian peopleand create the conditions necessary for the voluntary return of refugees in security and dignity, with our strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and to regional stability,” he said in a statement.

A grim milestone

The UN chief noted that this Saturday, March 11, “marks twelve years of harrowing conflict, systematic atrocities and untold human sorrow in Syria.”

The earthquakes that shook the country and neighboring Türkiye last month hit ashes humanitarian needs had reached their highest level since the fighting started.

This latest tragedy also struck deteriorating economic conditions, which is taking its toll on communities already ravaged by war and displacement, he added. The damage is worst in the northwest, where more than four million people already depended on aid to survive.

Provide access to help

“As we mourn all those who have lost their lives and expand humanitarian operations across Syria, we must ensure continued access using all modalities and adequate resources to meet the needs of all affected,” said the secretary-general.

This support also includes early recovery assistance, which he says builds resilience while meeting immediate life-saving needs.

He also stressed the urgency to guarantee cross-border aid access from Türkiye to the northwest for 12 months.

Road to peace

“The support in the aftermath of these earthquakes must be channeled into renewed energy on the political trackto address the fundamental issues underlying the conflict in Syria,” he stressed.

The UN chief said he remains convinced that reciprocal and verifiable steps by the Syrian parties and key international stakeholders can pave the way to lasting peace.

Action against arbitrary detention

Collective action is further needed to end the arbitrary detention And forced disappearance of tens of thousands of people in Syria, he continued, noting that the issue affects millions of victims, survivors and families on all sides.

The Secretary-General reiterated his call to the UN General Assembly to consider establishment a new international body to clarify the fate and whereabouts of missing persons.

“Syrians have been victims of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law on a massive and systematic scale,” he said. “These crimes have claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands, displaced half the population and left deep scars, visible and invisible. There can be no impunity if we are to secure a path to lasting peace.”

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