The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling for all parties to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need.
Three years of war have taken an appalling toll on Syria’s population. Over 130,000 Syrians have been killed. More than two million people have fled to neighboring countries while more than 6.5 million have been internally displaced. Nearly half of Syria’s population, 9.3 million people, is in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. Unfortunately, civilians are bearing the brunt of this nightmare.
The Assad regime, more than any other party to the conflict, has purposefully blockaded cities and neighborhoods to prevent the starving and sick from accessing food and medicine. Food and medicine should never be used as weapons of war.
On February 22nd, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling for all parties to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need, especially those in besieged and hard-to-reach areas. The resolution also calls for an end to violence, including the use of barrel bombs; condemns Syrian authorities for human rights violations; and denounces terror attacks by al-Qa’ida affiliated terrorists. Of great importance, the resolution expresses the Security Council’s intention to consider taking additional action in the event of non-compliance with the resolution.
“Today, this Council has unanimously articulated a set of demands to alleviate the worst humanitarian crisis of this generation,” said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power.
“[The resolution], for the first time, specifically identifies areas where sieges must be lifted; it demands the demilitarization of medical facilities, schools, and other civilian facilities; it demands cross-border humanitarian access so that aid can reach people in need through the most direct routes; it demands the cessation of insidious use of barrel bombs, which seem designed for the very purpose of terrorizing, maiming, and killing civilians,” she said.
“After three years of slaughter and savagery, people rightfully will question whether progress is possible, but this resolution holds the promise of something real,” said Secretary of State John Kerry.
“But these steps are only first steps. Just as shipments of humanitarian aid mean little without access to beleaguered areas, resolutions demanding access mean little without full implementation. The test is whether the words of the Security Council are matched with the life-saving actions the Syrian people so desperately and urgently need.”