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
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.
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
Meeting in Vienna, on October 30, 2015, China, Egypt, the EU, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the United States [“the participants”] came together to discuss the grave situation in Syria and how to bring about an end to the violence as soon as possible.
The participants had a frank and constructive discussion, covering major issues. While substantial differences remain among the participants, they reached a mutual understanding on the following:
1) Syria’s unity, independence, territorial integrity, and secular character are fundamental.
2) State institutions will remain intact.
3) The rights of all Syrians, regardless of ethnicity or religious denomination, must be protected.
4) It is imperative to accelerate all diplomatic efforts to end the war.
5) Humanitarian access will be ensured throughout the territory of Syria, and the participants will increase support for internally displaced persons, refugees, and their host countries.
6) Da'esh, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the U.N. Security Council, and further, as agreed by the participants, must be defeated.
7) Pursuant to the 2012 Geneva Communique and U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118, the participants invited the U.N. to convene representatives of the Government of Syria and the Syrian opposition for a political process leading to credible, inclusive, non-sectarian governance, followed by a new constitution and elections. These elections must be administered under U.N. supervision to the satisfaction of the governance and to the highest international standards of transparency and accountability, free and fair, with all Syrians, including the diaspora, eligible to participate.
8) This political process will be Syrian led and Syrian owned, and the Syrian people will decide the future of Syria.
9) The participants together with the United Nations will explore modalities for, and implementation of, a nationwide ceasefire to be initiated on a date certain and in parallel with this renewed political process.
The participants will spend the coming days working to narrow remaining areas of disagreement, and build on areas of agreement. Ministers will reconvene within two weeks to continue these discussions.
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
Security Council briefing on the situation in Syria by the Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura
Thank you Mr Secretary-General for your strong and supportive introduction to this debate,
Your Excellency Foreign Minister McCully, Mr. President, Members of the Security Council,
1. It is precisely the immensity of the human suffering as just described by the Secretary-General and yesterday by our colleague USG O'Brien that commands us to seek out even the remotest possibility for a political solution, even if, and we heard it, sadly the logic of assuming a military victory by anyone, which is impossible, continues. And barrel bombs and other indiscriminate weapons continue to kill Syrian civilians.
2. On 5 May, based on instructions from the Secretary-General, we unrolled the Geneva Consultations. It’s a new form of avoiding getting cornered in a conference which then gets us straight-jacketed, it is a set of structured separate discussions with Syrian and non-Syrian players aimed at "stress testing" any willingness, if there is any, of narrowing the gaps in interpretation of the principles contained in the Geneva Communiqué, which is still, let’s be frank, the internationally only recognized framework for a settlement, even if still ambiguous in some parts. To-date Consultations with over 200 different individuals, actually 216, -Syrians and non-Syrians- in Geneva and in capitals, reveal a generally shared sense of urgency given especially the recent gains by Daesh and al-Nusra Front, the talk of some de facto fragmentation, radicalization and sectarianism. There is thus growing reference to the need for a managed, phased, gradual controlled transition, to avoid a repeat of what no one in this Council would like to se, the problems we have had in Libya and in Iraq.
3. Consultations too have reaffirmed that most Syrians and international actors agree on what Syria should look like, and the relevance of the principles and content of the Geneva Communique. It was three years ago, and it is still valid. Syrians overall emphasize their own vision for a united, sovereign, independent -they’re very proud people-, non-sectarian, multi-confessional, all-inclusive state with territorial integrity, preserved but reformed state institutions, such as the Ministries -as we have seen in Iraq that was the biggest problem we faced when suddenly many institutions disappeared in one moment of the change-, including the political, security and judiciary sectors led by those who can inspire public confidence and trust.
4. Yet, there is disagreement -Mr Secretary-General said it very clearly- on how to get there much based on the different narratives, one as to the root causes of the conflict and emerging priorities. The fear of black flags over Damascus is driving many to consider reassessing their own earlier positions. Yet, many continue to consider also that the conflict continues to be about the Arab Spring calls for a change. There is a firm recognition that counter-terrorism is now definitely a priority. However, many are also wondering -both Syrians and member states- that n order to assert that type of counter-terrorism, there is a need for a credible new government with whom they can partner in that effort.
5. While common ground exists, the question over the devolution of executive authority to a transitional body -let’s be honest with ourselves- remains the most polarizing element of the Communique. For some, this means that the TGB -transitional governing body- is an instrument to hand over power. Some political and armed opposition groups generally reject any notion of power-sharing with the current government in Damascus. The Syrian government has accepted in theory to discuss the TGB at the Geneva II Conference but continues to reject the concept as unconstitutional.
6. It is still broadly understood that, whatever the solution, it should ensure the "meaningfulness and irreversibility of the transition" and a widely acceptable process, without causing an abrupt jolt, shock, trauma, catastrophe, in the system in Syria - we cannot afford that. And that should also include assurances for Syrian communities -and there are many minorities who have been under threat- and regional stakeholders and guarantees that the Syrian people are part of the decision-making - including, let me stress it, especially women. We met remarkable Syrian women in our Geneva Consultations who haver been giving us often the most powerful concept and analysis we have heard.
7. Sadly there is still no consensus on the way forward on the Communique or yet a formalized even negotiation - we would not be discussing it here otherwise, we would be working on the negotiation. At the same time, given the deepening tragedy- the UN is obliged -and all of us are- to keep the issue alive, to not leave any stone unturned, also attuned to ongoing serious conversations and discussions which are taking place, and we are hearing them, around the region and elsewhere, which may require perhaps more time, and may be linked with developments that the Secretary-General just referred to.
8. We have thus strived to develop recommendations, guided by the views and analysis shared with us during the Consultations. This is the first time by the way that the Syrian people have been given a chance, they told us, to be deeply and intensely consulted - after all we always say this is a Syrian-led , Syrian-involved process, well this was the opportunity. Our recommendations are predicated on the need for a regional and international consensus - and sustained engagement- on a way forward.
9. In responding to the Secretary-General's instruction therefore that we should try to "operationalise the Geneva Communique", together with my team we have consulted widely inside and around; and verified if there was critical mass for common action, and ultimately tried to visualize, from a technical point of view, the implementation of the Geneva Communique, in all its aspects, including the TGB. And we have come up with a detailed formula for the phased implementation of the Geneva Communique, so there is no alibi in case there was -and there will be- a political consensus, including on the TGB, which could assume the functions of a government, a definition of mutual consent, which was in the Geneva Communiqué, the functioning of a military council and Syrian National Congress for national dialogue and constitutional reform, combined with confidence-building measures.
10. Ours is a straightforward interpretation formula for the implementation of the Communique. Regretfully, the Consultations also confirmed that achieving an agreement on this is difficult in the current Syrian context. In fact, many urged us not convene a Geneva III conference yet, because we are not yet there.
11. But, we cannot let the situation in Syria continue to drift. And that’s why based on the appeal and the urge of the Secretary-General, we need to move in a direction where Syrians come together to stop the violence and set out an irreversible path towards a genuine political transition. Which leads us to our main Recommendation.
12. The Geneva Consultations got Syrians to again start talking to each other, sometimes indirectly through us, but they did. What I am today proposing is actually a deepening, getting much deeper, of those issues in the Geneva Communiqué which are not so controversial, and analyzing those that can be controversial. I now intend to invite therefore Syrians to parallel, simultaneous, thematic discussions through intra-Syrian working groups addressing the key aspects of the Geneva Communique, as identified by them in the first phase of the Consultations:
Safety and Protection for All: which means including ending sieges, how to do so, ensuring medical access and releasing detainees;
Political and Constitutional Issues: including the essential principles, transitional governing body and elections;
Military and Security Issues: including combatting terrorism in an effective inclusive way, cease-fires, and integration;
Public Institutions, Reconstruction and Development: which means we should to try to avoid as we said what happened in Iraq and elsewhere where suddenly institutions disappeared and the country got into a major difficulty. Those institutions should continue to deliver public services under a top leadership acceptable to all, and acting in accordance with principles of good government and human rights.
13. These working groups will start generating movement, we believe, towards a Syrian-owned Framework Document on the implementation of the Geneva Communique. These efforts can build on the very useful meetings that took place in Moscow, in Cairo, in Paris, and even in Astana recently and many track II initiatives. This effort should be led by a Steering committee and the Framework Document will also provide for a transitional governing body, procedures for a national dialogue, and so on. Such an international initiative will require the support of a Contact Group, and we will get there at the right time.
14. In all of the above I seek this Council's support, as the Secretary-General has said, and stand ready to regularly report to you and to the Secretary-General, on progress or challenges, which we will definitively have.
Mr Secretary-General, Mr. President, Members of the Security Council,
15. The Consultations have gone some way towards identifying existing common ground. They also still hold the promise that a set of formal negotiations could convene after preparing the ground, if there is a political will. The Geneva Consultations have been loud and clear on the profound risks of failing to act now, including the increasing risk of a multi-generational conflict that, with each passing month, reduces the prospects of ever restoring Syria as a unified state, let alone making it even harder to establish a political process.
16. In closing Mr. President, let me thank the Secretary-General again for being with us today, showing his strong commitment about the issue that is in front of us, and the Secretariat, and the members of the Security Council for their continuous support for our difficult, uphill, difficult, but needed mission. I am obviously ready to go into details more in a separate meeting later on.
26 & 27 June
25 & 26 June
On 24 May, Mr. de Mistura met with a delegation of the Assyrian Democratic Organization, and the Syrian Turkmen Council. He shared views with them on a political solution in Syria and the ongoing conflict on the ground. "Today I heard again about the importance of preserving Syria's social fabric and taking into account the diverse views from all corners of the country," Mr. de Mistura said. He stressed that "the United Nations will continue supporting efforts towards an all-inclusive Syrian-led political process."