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Removing a Crucial Weapon From Assad's Arsenal


FILE - Residents wait to receive food aid distributed by the U.N. refugee agency at the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, south of Damascus, Syria, May 2014.

On July 14th, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution allowing UN humanitarian aid convoys to pass directly into rebel-held areas without approval from the Syrian government.

For more than three years, the Assad regime has been carrying out horrific atrocities against civilians. Troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al Assad have not only brutally attacked unarmed civilians, they often deny food and other essential aid to those innocent civilians.

“The Assad regime has seized every opportunity to make it more – and not less – difficult to provide such crucial assistance to civilians in dire need,” said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power.

“It has used the denial of aid – and the starvation, sickness, and misery it imposes – as yet another weapon in its cruel and devastating arsenal against opposition-held areas.”

In fact, the Assad regime made it a point to deny or leave unanswered UN requests for permission to allow entry to convoys carrying food and medicine to reach millions of desperate civilians.

And the need is great. Presently, some 10.8 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance within Syria. Nearly 6 and a half million of those in need are internally displaced, having left their homes to escape violence or to seek food, clean water, or medical care. Others are trying to survive in warzones, while more than 240,000 are trapped in besieged areas, forced to choose between starvation and surrender to a brutal regime.

That is why on July 14th, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution allowing UN humanitarian aid convoys to pass directly into rebel-held areas without approval from the Syrian government. “This resolution will allow critical aid to reach up to two million Syrians who have been denied adequate assistance for the past year, and suffered immeasurably as a result,” said Ambassador Power.

“This resolution also authorizes the UN to cross conflict lines between regime and opposition forces to deliver aid, and the Syrian regime, which is systematically denying cross line humanitarian assistance, must heed this obligation.”

As a member of the UN and in accordance with Article 25 of the UN charter, Syria is obliged to carry out the decisions of the Security Council.

“Today,” said Ambassador Power, “we are taking steps to ensure that our resolution from February has a real impact on the ground unlocking the impediments that stand in the way of cross-border assistance."

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