UN officials are calling for a lasting solution to end the war in Syria


For UN Special Envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, this was an opportunity to remember the countless lives lost, and remember the abuse and suffering of millions, including those who have been forcibly displaced, arbitrarily detained, disappeared and being missed.

War cannot last

“The situation in Syria is unsustainable and to continue in the same way, defies humanity and logic,” he said.

In addition, the challenges we faced in responding to last month’s deadly earthquakes were “a clear reminder that the status quo is unsustainable and indefensible,” he added.

Earthquake assistance ‘depoliticised’

Earthquakes struck northern Syria and southern Türkiye on February 6, killing more than 50,000 people in both countries and causing widespread destruction.

Nearly nine million people in Syria have been affected, with the worst damage in the northwest, the opposition’s last stronghold.

Mr. Pedersen stressed the “collective humanitarian need to depoliticize relief efforts”emphasizing the need for access by all modalities, generous resources and sustained calm.

Political solution needed

“But we cannot limit our collective efforts to just the humanitarian response. Syria is devastated, divided and impoverished, in an active state of conflict, its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity compromised,” he said.

“Without a comprehensive political solution to resolve these issues, one that restores Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and empowers the Syrian people to live in dignity and chart their own future, the pain of Syrians will continue.”

Possible ‘tipping point’

The envoy said the earthquakes “could be a turning point” as evidenced by recent “humanitarian moves from all sides that have gone beyond previous positions, even if temporary”.

We need to see the same logic applied to the political frontto help find a way forward,” he said, referring to actions such as step-by-step confidence-building measures, resuming and substantially advancing constitutional talks, and working toward a nationwide ceasefire.

Untold losses, record needs

Meanwhile, two of the top UN aid officials focused on the untold suffering endured by the Syrian people since the beginning of the war, including loss of life, livelihood, home and hope.

The joint statement was issued by the Interim UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, El-Mostafa Benlamlih, and the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syrian Crisis, Muhannad Hadi.

“Syria remains one of the worlds most complex humanitarian and protection emergencies of 15.3 million people across the country has been identified as needing humanitarian aid this year – the highest number of people in need since the outbreak of the conflict,” they said.

Fight to survive

Syria is also one of the largest displacement crises in the world. About 6.8 million people have been uprooted in the country, many times over, and about the same number live as refugees abroad.

In addition, millions of Syrians are forced to survive amid the collapse of basic services, an ongoing cholera outbreak, rising food and energy prices and an economic crisis.

The quake has only added “another layer of tragedy and despair,” they said.

©UNICEF/Hasan Belal

A seven-year-old displaced girl lives with her family in an improvised camp in southern Syria. (file)

Help is not enough

The UN officials underlined the humanitarian community’s full commitment to continuing to help people across Syria, and their support for resilience and speedy recovery efforts.

“However, humanitarian aid is not sufficient or sustainable,” they said.

“There must be a sustainable and complete solution to end the conflict in Syria. All stakeholders must show the determination to continue pursuing lasting peace for the Syrian people to rebuild their shattered lives.”

Child malnutrition is on the rise

The ongoing war and earthquakes put millions of young Syrians at increased risk of malnutrition, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned on Wednesday.

Nearly 13,000 boys and girls have been killed since the conflict began, the agency added.

UNICEF estimated that about 609,000 Syrian children under the age of five are left behind, a condition resulting from chronic malnutrition that causes irreversible physical and mental damage.

Acute malnutrition is also on the rise. The number of young children suffering from severe acute malnutrition has increased by almost 50 percent between 2021 and 2022.

“When children suffer from acute malnutrition, their immune systems weaken and they are 11 times more likely to die than well-nourished children,” UNICEF explains.

Kids can’t wait

Syrian families are also struggling to make ends meet due to rising prices and the economic crisis, with nearly 90 percent of the population living in poverty.

“The children of Syria cannot wait any longer. After years of conflict and two catastrophic earthquakes, the future of millions of children hanging by a threadsaid Adele Khodr, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“It is our collective responsibility to reaffirm that to children their future is our priority at.”

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here