UN officials welcome Syria aid resolution
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Last Updated: Sunday, February 23, 2014, 01:37
  
United Nations: Senior UN officials Saturday welcomed a resolution on Syria's humanitarian crisis, calling for boosting aid access across the war-torn country and easing the suffering of millions of people in desperate need.

The UN Security Council, in a meeting Saturday, unanimously adopted the resolution to urge an immediate and unhindered access of humanitarian aid in Syria, where armed conflict has been going on for nearly three years, Xinhua reported.

Through the resolution, the council demanded an immediate end to all forms of violence in the country and strongly condemned the rise of Al Qaeda-affiliated terror attacks.

The Security Council members insisted that all parties cease attacking civilians, including through the indiscriminate use of weapons in populated areas, such as shelling and aerial bombardment with barrel bombs.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who participated in the meeting, welcomed the resolution but noted that it "should not have been necessary" as humanitarian assistance is not something to be negotiated but allowed by virtue of international law.

The resolution, which highlights again the urgent need to end the conflict, "strengthens the council's engagement in protecting civilians and ensuring the delivery of relief", he said.

The UN chief expressed profound shock that both sides are besieging civilians as a tactic of war, and noted that reports of human rights violations continue, including massacres, as well as sexual and gender-based violence against children.

"Civilians continue to bear the brunt of the conflict," he said. "They are the daily victims of brutal violence and indiscriminate attacks, including the use of heavy weapons, aerial bombings, mortars and car bombs in population areas."

These heinous acts are unacceptable and must stop immediately, he said, urging all combating parties in Syria must abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law.

Stressing the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in the country, he said, "Half the country's people need urgent assistance. Host countries need support in caring for more than 2.5 million refugees."

Well over 100,000 people have been killed and an estimated 9 million others driven from their homes since the conflict erupted between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and various groups seeking his ouster in March 2011.

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), there are currently more than 2.4 million refugees registered in the region: 932,000 in Lebanon; 574,000 in Jordan; some 613,000 in Turkey; 223,000 in Iraq; and about 134,000 in Egypt.

IANS

First Published: Sunday, February 23, 2014, 01:37


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