UPDATES FOR CORRESPONDENTS
28 December - Joint statement by the UN in Syria, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross
The UNITED NATIONS IN SYRIA
THE SYRIAN ARAB RED CRESCENT
AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS
ON THE EVACUATION OF INJURED PEOPLE AND RELATIVES IN SYRIA’S IDLEB AND RIF DAMASCUS GOVERNORATES
Syria: Over 450 people including injured evacuated from hard to reach and besieged towns
Damascus (28 December 2015) - The United Nations (UN) in Syria, in partnership with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have successfully facilitated the evacuation of more than 450 people including the injured and their accompanying family members, following a local Agreement concerning the Syrian towns of Foua, Kafraya in Idleb and Zabadani and Madaya in Rif Damascus.
While the United Nations and partners are not party to the Agreement, the humanitarian actors are keen to see its provisions implemented as people in these towns live in a difficult situation, and the injured people urgently need medical assistance.
Earlier today, the UN in Syria, SARC and ICRC carried out coordinated tasks, which led to the evacuation of 338 persons from the towns of Foua and Kafraya, and 126 people from the towns of Zabadani and Madaya. They were simultaneously evacuated by land and air through Turkey and Lebanon to the agreed final destinations where those requiring longer term medical care will receive it.
Through the facilitation of the UN, SARC and ICRC in Syria, and in close coordination with the ICRC in Lebanon, the Lebanese Red Cross, the UN in Turkey and Lebanon and IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, an NGO partner in Turkey, the injured were transported out of Syria to Lebanon where thorough medical checks were conducted and urgent medical assistance was provided.
“The humanitarian community in Syria is keen to see the swift implementation of the next phases of the Four Towns Agreement including humanitarian access to people in these towns,” said Yacoub El-Hillo, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria. “We stand ready to continue providing relief and livelihoods assistance to the millions of people wherever they are in Syria as they bear the brunt of this crisis,” El Hillo added.
“Today’s humanitarian action shows that even in the middle of fierce conflicts, agreements can be reached, solely for the purpose of alleviating human suffering,” said Marianne Gasser, Head of the ICRC Delegation in Syria. “Parties involved in the fighting, must allow access by humanitarian actors to all people who have been affected by years of fighting, especially to those in besieged and hard to reach areas, “she continued.
Dr Abdul Rahman Attar, the President of the SARC said: “Access to medical care is a right of every wounded person regardless of which side they belong to. SARC’s teams of volunteers, first-aiders and ambulances were heavily involved in the various stages of this operation inside Syria.”
On his side, the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said that the UN’s clear goal is to reach, as soon as possible a nationwide ceasefire. “Meanwhile, initiatives like this one bring relief to besieged or isolated communities and have great value,” de Mistura said. “They help the perception that a nationwide ceasefire brokered by the members of the International Syria Support Group is doable and that the UN can and will do its part.”
Across Syria, around 4.5 million people living in hard-to-reach areas continue with limited access to basic life-saving assistance and protection. Almost 400,000 of them live in besieged areas with little or no access to basic supplies or assistance. The United Nations and partners continue to urge all parties to the conflict to find a political solution, and to ensure unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access.
بيان صحفي مشترك
الأمم المتحدة في سورية،
والهلال الأحمر العربي السوري،
واللجنة الدولية للصليب الأحمر
حول إجلاء الجرحى وعائلاتهم من إدلب ومن ريف دمشق
سورية: إجلاء أكثر من 450 شخصًا بمن فيهم مصابين، من بلدات يتعذر الوصول إليها وأخرى محاصرة
دمشق 28 كانون الأول/ ديسمبر 2015
26 December - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Special Envoy for Syria
11 December - International Syria Support Group meeting
24 November: Statement attributable to the spokesperson of the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria
14 November - Statement of the International Syria Support Group
6 November - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson of the Special Envoy for Syria
30 October - Vienna Communique on Syria
2 October - Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson of the Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura
22 September - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson of the Special Envoy for Syria
13 September - Statement of the Special Envoy for Syria to the Ministerial meeting of the League of Arab States
دمشق (28 ديسمبر 2015) - نجحت الأمم المتحدة في سورية بالتعاون مع الهلال الأحمر العربي السوري واللجنة الدولية للصليب الأحمر في إجلاء أكثر من 450 شخصاً بمن فيهم المصابين وأفراد عائلاتهم المصاحبين لهم، وذلك عقب التوصل إلى اتفاق محلي يشمل بلدات سورية هي الفوعة وكفريا في إدلب، والزبداني ومضايا في ريف دمشق.
وتجدرالإشارة هنا إلى أن الأمم المتحدة وشركاءها ليسوا شركاء في هذه الاتفاق، لكن الفاعلون في المجال الإنساني يحرصون على رؤية شروط الاتفاق وهي توضع موضع التنفيذ، إذ أن سكان هذه البلدات يعيشون في أوضاع صعبة للغاية، ويحتاج المصابون فيها إلى مساعدات طبية عاجلة.
ومن الجدير بالذكر، أن الأمم المتحدة في سورية نفذت بالتنسيق مع الهلال الأحمر العربي السوري واللجنة الدولية مهام أفضت إلى إجلاء 338 شخصاً من بلدتي الفوعة وكفريا، و126 شخصاً من بلدات الزبداني ومضايا. وقد أُجلي هؤلاء في وقت واحد براً وجواً عن طريق تركيا ولبنان، ليصلوا إلى البلدان المُقرر وصولهم إليها، ليحصل المصابون الذين يحتاجون إلى فترات أطول من الرعاية الطبية على تلك الرعاية.
وعن طريق جهود التيسير التي بذلتها الأمم المتحدة والهلال الأحمر السوري واللجنة الدولية في سورية وبالتنسيق الوثيق مع اللجنة الدولية في لبنان والصليب الأحمر اللبناني والأمم المتحدة في تركيا ولبنان ومؤسسة الإغاثة الانسانية، منظمة غير الحكومية في تركيا، نُقل المصابون من سورية إلى لبنان وتركيا حيث أُجريت لهم فحوصات طبية وحصلوا على مساعدات طبية عاجلة.
وحول هذه العملية ذكر السيد "يعقوب الحلو" المنسق المقيم للأمم المتحدة للشؤون الإنسانية في سورية بقوله: "إن المجتمع الإنساني في سورية توّاق إلى رؤية المراحل التالية للاتفاق الذي يشمل البلدات الأربع تدخل حيز التنفيذ في أسرع وقت، وتشمل تلك المراحل إيصال المساعدات الإنسانية إلى سكان تلك البلدات" ونوه السيد يعقوب قائلًا: "نحن على أتمّ الاستعداد لمواصلة تقديم المساعدات الإغاثية والمعيشية للملايين في سورية أينما كانوا، لنخفف عنهم وطأة المعاناة التي تخلفها هذه الأزمة ".
من جهتها أفادت السيدة "ماريان غاسر" رئيسة بعثة اللجنة الدولية للصليب الأحمر في دمشق قائلة: "إن التحرك الإنساني الذي نراه في يومنا الحاضر لهو خير دليل على أنه حتى في أشد النزاعات ضراوة يمكن التوصل إلى اتفاقات الغرض منها فقط هو تخفيف المعاناة الإنسانية". وأضافت قائلة: "يتعين على الأطراف المنخرطة في القتال السماح للجهات الإنسانية بالوصول إلى المتضررين من جراء سنوات من القتال الدائر، لا سيما أولئك العالقين في مناطق محاصرة أو مناطق يصعب الوصول إليها".
وفي السياق ذاته أفاد الدكتور "عبد الرحمن عطار" رئيس منظمة الهلال الأحمر العربي السوري بقوله: "إن الحصول على الرعاية الصحية حق مكفول لكل شخص جريح بصرف النظر عن الطرف الذي ينتمي إليه. وأن فرق المتطوعين والمسعفين التابعين للهلال الأحمر العربي السوري شاركوا بشكل مباشر في المراحل المختلفة لهذه العملية داخل سورية".
من جانبه ذكر المبعوث الخاص للأمم المتحدة إلى سورية السيد "ستافان دي ميستورا" أن للأمم المتحدة هدفاً واضحاً وهو التوصل إلى وقف لإطلاق النار يشمل كل أنحاء سورية في القريب العاجل. وقال: "ترمي مثل هذه المبادرات في الوقت ذاته إلى إيصال المساعدات الإغاثية إلى المجتمعات المحلية المحاصرة أو المعزولة، وهي بلا شك تحقق قيمة كبيرة. فهي تساعد في ترسيخ فكرة مفادها أن التوصل إلى وقف لإطلاق النار في جميع أرجاء البلاد بوساطة أعضاء في "مجموعة دعم سورية" لهو أمر قابل للتحقيق، وأن الأمم المتحدة قادرة على أداء دورها وهي ماضية في ذلك".
ويجب التنويه هنا إلى أن نحو 4,5 ملايين شخص يعيشون في مناطق يصعب الوصول إليها لا يزالون يعانون صعوبة في الحصول على المساعدات الأساسية المنقذة للحياة وعلى الحماية اللازمة. يعيش قرابة 400.000 منهم في مناطق تقع تحت الحصار حيث لا يصلهم إلا أقل القليل من الإمدادات أو المساعدات الأساسية إن وُجدت. وتواصل الأمم المتحدة بالتعاون مع شركائها حث جميع أطراف النزاع للتوصل إلى حل سياسي، ولضمان وصول المساعدات الإنسانية المستمرة دونما أية عوائق.
MR. STAFFAN DE MISTURA
Cairo, 13 September 2015
Mr. [President], Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby, distinguished ministers,
1. It is with a great sense of responsibility that I address you today – for the first time in Cairo – about what has become the world’s largest humanitarian disaster and perhaps one of the most complex political and security challenges of our times. History will judge us. I have said this at every occasion – the scope, danger and threat of the Syrian tragedy should force all of us to leave no stone unturned in trying to end this bloodshed helping Syrians to set their country on a path to healing and reconstruction.
2. Let me take a moment to recall my Office’s efforts to-date before we can address the way forward. I took on this assignment a few months after the end of the Geneva II process and the departure of Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, a person I respect a lot. At that time, the Secretary-General undertook a deep assessment of the situation in Syria. On 20 June 2014 he made a quite important policy speech to the Asia Society where he outlined six UN priorities on Syria.
3. He emphasised the importance of saving lives and protecting the most precious for the Syrians, the dignity of the Syrian people. He called for new efforts to start a serious political process for a new Syria, and use the roadmap offered by the Geneva Communique for that purpose. The Communiqué is the roadmap. He urged regional and international players to lend their support to his Envoy in this respect. The Secretary-General also highlighted the importance of accountability for serious crimes, which we all know are being committed in Syria – and one day serious crimes need to be considered in the context of accountability -, and of addressing the regional dimensions of the conflict, including the extremist threat.
4. Guided by these priorities, I started my mission last September. Very quickly it became clear to me, as it remained so for you, that the political complexities of the Syrian conflict are such that there was no prospect for any political process at that time, and we needed to break this sense and not give up. Regretfully, Syrian, regional and international players, despite continuously repeating their support for a political solution. Everybody wished me good luck, saying there could only be a political solution. But other agendas were being moved forward away from the negotiations table.
5. Meanwhile Daesh took advantage of the chaos in Syria, set roots and started to expand, as well as threaten the entire region and beyond. Many, across all the political divides around the Syrian conflict, agreed on the urgent need to halt Daesh. I had hoped that this new factor, the threat of Daesh, would be enough to have a proactive discussion on fighting terrorism and the need for a political solution, as the two aspects go together. It should not be one before the other.
6. I sincerely hoped then that this unity against a common enemy could be taken to the next level. I proposed the Aleppo Freeze. In that proposal, I was guided by only one objective – saving lives from being killed by a barrel bomb or a stray mortar or gas, giving hope. Many were skeptical and remain so. Where they were right to a certain degree was that any such initiative could not work absent a political horizon. I got that message. That sense of urgency for a political horizon only intensified as horrifying images of Daesh continued atrocities, aerial bombardment by the Syrian Government, rockets by armed opposition groups affecting civilians.
7. Against this background, back in March in Sharm el-Sheikh addressing the League of Arab States, the Secretary-General instructed me to intensify efforts towards a political process. There was no indication of anything new, but he felt it essential after five years of war, 20 years after Srebrenica and as the UN was celebrating its 70th anniversary. He asked me to consult broadly with Syrians, and told me to look around to come up with recommendations on how to operationalize the Geneva Communique. On 5 May, I rolled-out a process of separate meetings with Syrian, regional and international stakeholders. We did my best to talk to all who could share any valuable analysis , and ensure that no Syrian could say he or she had not been heard.
8. As a result of over  meetings, in early July, I reported back to the Secretary-General my own analysis. As requested, we put forth a way to operationalize the Geneva Communique. This is the famous paper that was leaked, referencing the TGB. But unfortunately there was not enough critical mass to support this. Then I presented a process, although I do not like the term because of MEPP connotations, but it is needed to work on non-controversial issues, and maintain the pressure for a real political dialogue, regionally and beyond.
9. The themes are not new, but they require a new way to address them. They can be the beginning of a discussion. They include: safety and protection for all Syrian people; military, security and counter-terrorism issues; political and legal issues (and these two must start together, avoiding, with all due respect, what has happened in Libya), and this also include the whole essence of the TGB; and maintaining state institutions. The Secretary-General further stressed that no effort could be successful absent the substantive support from the region and the international community, except if we have a contact group to put political pressure fro countries with and influence on the situation. The plan is to start the working groups, but not giving up establishing the contact group.
Mr. [President], Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby, distinguished ministers,
10. The Security Council has since taken a constructive look at what can be done politically for with a feeling of urgency. As such in its Presidential Statement adopted on 17 August, the Council endorsed the UN proposals for a way forward and themselves “emphasize[d] the need for robust international and regional assistance”.
11. We are now in a new phase. There is a massive movement of refugees. There is a danger of further militarisation. We have a clear vision of the Security Council for a way forward, that includes progress on both the political track and the fight against terrorism, not one at the expense of the other. I have a clear task to make the thematic working groups happen and establish dialogue with the countries that have an influence – some of them are in this room.
12. Over the past two months, Deputy Ramzy and I have visited several capitals and engaged all the major Syrian interlocutors – and consultations continue to-date. We have worked out the internal organizational, but also conceptual, aspects of this next phase. From Cairo, I will have further discussions in Damascus and Istanbul to prepare the announcement of the working groups. We are ready to roll-out the working group process soon. But without a contact group we have no teeth.
13. I trust you have all noted the extensive media coverage of the exacerbating suffering in Syria. Barrel bombs, gas canisters and many other nasty weapons continue to be used on human beings in Syria. Thousands of years old world heritage artefacts are being blown up in pieces. Women, men, children, elders, doctors, farmers, engineers, teachers are running away from Syria. These are the middle class, those who can contribute to the future of Syria. Some of our humanitarian colleagues assess that only some 16 million people, out of 23 million originally, are now left in Syria – with several millions living in the Daesh-controlled area.
14. This situation is a defining humanitarian challenge of our times. It is now affecting Europe and has long been affecting the neighbourhood , which has been generously welcoming large numbers of refugees, such as in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and Iraq. This requires us to move faster and to be more serious about helping the Syrians. Most importantly, we must share more effectively the burden of the humanitarian crisis - for which only 37% of the appeal has been covered so far -, many of you have been generous but if the Syrian people lose hope because of a harsh and cold winter ahead of them they will only be moving to more despration.
15. Things are also changing, including in this region. I hope that the forthcoming developments would help Iran engage its neighbours in order to provide together regional support for a political solution. We hope Iran’s neighbours would also reciprocate. The United States and Russia have also started to talk to each other more about Syria than before, but so far inconclusively. There will be more opportunities during the GA One must remember where the refugees come from. They are not fleeing a sudden rain or a terrorist group. They are leaving because of war.
16. Syria is at the heart of the Arab world. Today, Syria is bleeding. It has been for the past four years. I cannot but believe all of us have an interest – moral and political - to put an end to this human tragedy and political disaster.
17. A political solution to the Syrian problem – a very complicated one, I have never seen such a complex conflict in my career over four decades and twenty conflicts - cannot be resolved without active Arab participation. Almost every Syrian I have come across yearns for a unified country – they are proud of their country and they love it - in which its citizens, regardless of the religious or ethnic affiliation, live in freedom and dignity, but also a Syria that regains its historic position at the centre of the Arab world.
18. In sum, three new 'accelerators' have appeared on the scene: the advances of ISIL; the sudden / massive movement of refugees – which culd become more massive; and the potential military escalation, are all additional stimuli for a political process. The UN Secretary-General’s proposal includes two complementary tracks: (a) thematic working gorups in recognition that Syrians need to have their say on the Geneva Communique; and (b) a Contact Group in recognition of the regional and international dimensions of the conflict and their collective and individual responsibilities to see this conflict resolved. This will require the support of all around this table.
19. In concluding, I would lijke to invite all of us to observe a minute of silence in tribute to the martyrs of Syria. Many have died in Syria and in the Mediterranean, as symbolised by the picture of the child.
10 September - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria
1st September - Special Envoy for Syria met with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Arab African Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran
17 August - Special Envoy for Syria condemned yesterday's air raids on the town of Duma
14 August - Special Envoy for Syria condemns shelling of Damascus Suburbs
12 August - Special Envoy for Syria welcomes the release of human rights activist and journalist
5 August - Secretary-General encouraged by Security Council’s support for latest proposal on Syria
5 August - Special Envoy explains his proposal on thematic discussions
29 July - Remarks by the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the situation in Syria
29 July - Special Envoy for Syria briefs Security Council on the situation in Syria
26 & 27 June
25 & 26 June