70 percent of Syrians need aid after 12 years of conflict: UN
Seventy percent of Syrians remain in need of humanitarian aid in the war-torn country, almost 12 years after the conflict began, said a number of senior UN officials on Wednesday.
Speaking at a Security Council meeting, the officials said that Syria remains "tattered and deeply divided", as it continues to face great economic hardship, the world’s largest displacement crisis, and no sign of a political solution to the conflict.
.@GeirOPedersen As we move into 2023, the Syrian people remain trapped in a profound humanitarian, political, military, security, economic & human rights crisis of great complexity & almost unimaginable scale.— UN Special Envoy for Syria (@UNEnvoySyria) January 25, 2023
The UN’s Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, emphasised that the Syrian people needed more assistance than ever, with record-breaking levels of food insecurity and poverty, exacerbated by a severe economic crisis affecting approximately 15.3 million Syrians.
The call for assistance comes soon after the UN’s unanimous renewal of Resolution 2672 earlier this month, which kept a key border crossing from Turkey to Syria's rebel-held northwest open for critical food, medicine and aid deliveries.
Syrians are at a particular risk as the country is facing a harsh winter, while those living in camps for displaced people will also be burdened with a continuing cholera outbreak.
Ghada Elathir Mudawi, the UN’s humanitarian affairs coordination office deputy director, stressed that further donor support is gravely needed, as the UN’s Humanitarian Response Plan for Syria for 2022 was given its lowest funding since the conflict began.
Meanwhile, Pedersen said that "the picture remains as dire as ever", despite 2022 witnessing periods of "relative calm and fewer airstrikes than in previous years".
He also highlighted that the conflict is in need of a comprehensive political solution and that a nationwide ceasefire is "crucial" to ending the nearly 12-year-long war in Syria. He admitted that "no substantive progress" had been made on this front.
The UN will continue to push for the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2254, which aims to make way for a political settlement and possible elections in Syria, but has been largely blocked by the Syrian regime.
Pedersen said that he will also work on priority areas, including pushing for the release of those arbitrarily detained by Assad’s regime. As many as 110,000 political prisoners languish in the regime's jails.
At least 500,000 Syrians have been killed since the conflict began, following the Syrian regime's brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters in 2011.
Millions more have been displaced, mostly as a result of the Assad regime's bombardment of civilian areas and its other atrocities.