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Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Syria

24 December 2019

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the military escalation in northwest Syria and calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities.

The Secretary-General is alarmed by the scale of the military operation and reported attacks on evacuation routes as civilians try to flee north to safety. The Secretary-General reminds all parties of their obligations to protect civilians and ensure freedom of movement.

The recent military escalation has resulted in dozens of civilian casualties and the displacement of at least 80,000 civilians, including 30,000 in the last week alone.

Sustained, unimpeded and safe humanitarian access to civilians, including through the cross-border modality, must be guaranteed in order to allow the United Nations and its humanitarian partners to continue to carry out their critical work in northern Syria.

The Secretary-General reiterates that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict. The only credible solution is a UN-facilitated political process pursuant to Security Council resolution 2254 (2015).

Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General

New York, 23 December