NEW YORK, APRIL 27 – With fighting intensifying on numerous fronts in Syria over the past months, the top United Nations humanitarian official today urged consolidation of the nationwide ceasefire, most importantly a pause in fighting on the outskirts of Damascus, to enable the delivery of aid. “The Secretary-General has said time and again that there will be no military end to this conflict. Yet, military might continues to be used against civilians in a way that defies all reason, let alone morality or the law,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien told the Security Council.
Addressing the Council the Italian Permanent Representative Sebastiano Cardi noted that the consequences of the conflict have spread across the region. “Instability irradiates far beyond Syria, be it in the form of terrorism or in the form of uncontrolled flows of refugees. Legal and safe ways to ensure movement of people fleeing from conflicts are paramount. We commend neighboring countries which provide refuge to the millions of people who have fled the fighting”, the Italian Representative said, pointing out on the Italian Government’s programme called “humanitarian corridors” which allows safe and legal entry to Italy for people fleeing the conflict. “It is an act of solidarity and a means to combat trafficking. A model that other countries are following”, Cardi said.
Today a new group of refugees from Syria – a total of 68 people, while 57 more will arrive tomorrow – were welcomed at Fiumicino Airport by the President of the Community of Sant’Egidio, marco Impagliazzo, along with Paolo Naso of the Federation of Protestant Churches, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mario Giro and Donatella Candura, from the Ministry of Interiors. “You were able to arrive safely, thanks to the corridors, and not risking your lives in the hands of people traffickers”, Impagliazzo told the newly arrived who will be welcomed in Italian communities.
In New York, O’Brien pointed out that “the humanitarian situation is deteriorating, if that were possible, and the need for active engagement by members of the [Security] Council is urgently needed”.
The core needs of the Syrian people from the international community remain largely unchanged, noting that they include the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure by all parties to the conflict; immediate, unimpeded and sustained access to all in need throughout Syria; an immediate lifting of all sieges; and a political solution to the conflict.
In besieged eastern Ghouta, outside Damascus, civilians remain trapped amid reports of relentless shelling, airstrikes, and ground fighting, he said, noting that the last informal access routes have reportedly been closed further restricting movement for the some 400,000 people who live in the area, and who the UN has been unable to access since October last year. (@OnuItalia)