Thursday, 24 July 2014

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Syria: Enough, we say, enough!

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24 April 2014 – Syria is facing a worsening humanitarian situation. With fighting intensifying, especially in Aleppo and the Old City of Horns, and other parts of the country, the situation on the ground will only deteriorate. Already one year ago the combined leaders of the UN agencies dealing with the humanitarian impact of the crisis issued an urgent appeal on behalf of millions of people whose lives hang in the balance. Yet this appeal has been to no avail.

In Aleppo alone, due to the fighting in recent weeks, over a million people are in need of urgent assistance. Various armed forces and groups block Main roads in and out of the city, preventing the flow of aid. For the population of 2.5 million people in Aleppo it is estimated there are only 40 doctors on-site and their medical supplies are scarce. The city is surrounded and cut off, and humanitarian access to those in need is being denied by all sides.

After four years of conflict in Syria over 9.3 million people have been affected. With a third of the nation's water treatment plants no longer functioning, with 60 per cent of health centres destroyed, and with some 3.5 million people living in areas under siege or unable to be reached with humanitarian assistance, the civilians of Syria face a dire situation. Humanitarian agencies, working closely with international and national NGO’s, are striving to meet the needs of the people to alleviate suffering, but their efforts are vastly insufficient. In order to do more, the UN leaders call upon the parties involved in the conflict to do more to facilitate the distribution of humanitarian aid to those in need.

In their joint statement, marking the one-year anniversary of their original plea for cooperation, the UN leaders once again entreat the warring parties to: “Enable unconditional humanitarian access to all people in need, using all available routes either across lines inside Syria or across its borders. Lift the sieges on civilians currently being imposed by all sides.” And finally to “End the indiscriminate bombing and shelling of civilians by the Government and opposition groups and stop all other violations of international humanitarian law.”

A peaceful resolution to the bloody conflict has not been found, as diplomatic routes have failed. Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations/Arab League Joint Special Representative has said, “My message to everybody involved in this terrible crisis is to think of the Syrian people, to think of the immense suffering that has been imposed on [them], the destruction that has taken place in Syria, and to think of what anyone can contribute to pull Syria out of the ditch in which it has fallen.”

UNRIC related links:

UNRIC's backgrounder on Syria

UNRIC's article on situation of Syrian refugees
UNRIC's article on need of aid
UNRIC's article on Syrian Peace talks

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