New York, NY, March 12, 2018 — Today the IRC calls on UN Security Council members to immediately implement the ceasefire so sorely needed by the beleaguered Syrian population.
More than two weeks after the UN Security Council unanimously passed resolution 2401, it has not been implemented and has had no impact on civilian safety in East Ghouta, Afrin, and other parts of Syria.
The declaration of a ceasefire has had little to no effect on the safety of civilians. Military operations in East Ghouta and Afrin have continued, including air strikes and advancement of ground troops. Shelling and airstrikes have continued to heavily target all areas in Eastern Ghouta, including medical facilities and humanitarian agencies. Attacks on civilians in residential areas in Damascus continue to cost lives.
Humanitarian access continues to be impeded and sieges have not been lifted. A Russian proposal for a five-hour “humanitarian pause” daily is not sufficient to deliver humanitarian aid to besieged and hard-to-reach areas. One humanitarian aid convoy with food and health supplies for 25,000 civilians was approved for Duma city in East Ghouta, but 70 percent of medical supplies were removed and nearly one-third of the convoy’s trucks were unable to unload due to continued shelling. Another convoy with food and medical supplies reached 70,000 of the 400,000 civilians trapped in East Ghouta days later, though was again forced to offload amid ongoing shelling, despite assurances of a pause in hostilities. Some aid convoys from Damascus to other areas in Syria, including Afrin and Homs, were approved and delivered aid to thousands in need.
The IRC is also calling for independent observers to be deployed on the ground to oversee urgent medical evacuations of more than 1,000 critically ill Syrians, as well as the UN Secretary-General to identify urgently mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of the resolution.
David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee said:
“More than two weeks after members of the Security Council voted unanimously for a nationwide ceasefire in Syria, civilians on the ground are still waiting for it to be implemented. The actions of the Syrian government and their allies make a mockery of the resolution’s words. For civilians in Ghouta and elsewhere the reality is rising violence and not the cessation of violence.
“Anything less than the full and immediate implementation of the resolution risks the lives of over 400,000 Syrians caught in the Eastern Ghouta siege and pulls at the remaining threads of the UN Security Council nearly eight years into this lawless and uniquely brutal war. The horrors we are seeing on the ground will only continue, children and their families will continue to suffer needlessly. The message the IRC teams hear on the ground is unequivocal. ‘Save Ghouta before it is too late.’”
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 29 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue-uk.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.