The images from the Syrian conflict are haunting: dead children, emaciated civilians, tortured captives. They testify to the unrestrained brutality that has been let loose in the almost three years since peaceful anti-government protesters first demonstrated against the regime of Bashar al-Assad and were met with unrelenting violence. U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power recently said, ”In Syria we are witnessing the worst humanitarian crisis we have seen in a generation.”
Over 130,000 people have been killed in Syria since March 2011; millions have fled the country and millions more are internally displaced. 9.3 million Syrians are now in need of assistance.
In Geneva, representatives of the Syrian regime and the opposition recently met for a second round of talks purportedly to negotiate implementation of the Geneva communique of June 2012 which called for a transition government in Syria established by mutual consent of both sides. The talks ended in a deadlock after the Syrian government reportedly refused to consider a transition plan proposed by the opposition.
The U.S. strongly supports a humanitarian resolution that makes “a meaningful difference on the ground.”
Ambassador Power noted that since the Geneva II talks began a little more than three weeks ago, nearly 5000 people have been killed in Syria –- “the most concentrated period of killing in the entire duration of the conflict…Given these developments,” she said, “the Security Council must consider additional ways to improve the humanitarian situation.”
The U.S. strongly supports a humanitarian resolution that makes “a meaningful difference on the ground,” said Ambassador Power. “This Council must speak with a united voice demanding immediate, full humanitarian access to those in need, particularly in besieged areas and increased flows of assistance, including across borders.”
Speaking to reporters in China, Secretary of State John Kerry said, “We’re back at the United Nations because the situation demands that the civilized world stand up and fight for those people who are the victims day to day of violence that comes from barrel bombs dropped from helicopters and from Scud missiles fired on innocent civilians and starvation and siege that is being laid to over 200,000 –- 250,000 people trapped in places where they can’t get food. This is grotesque. And the world need to take note and figure out…the appropriate response.”