The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
'End this intolerable human suffering': UN says Syria fighting has escalated since call for ceasefire Open in fullscreen

The New Arab & agencies

'End this intolerable human suffering': UN says Syria fighting has escalated since call for ceasefire

Syrian regime strikes have killed more than 240 people over five days. [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 February, 2018

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
The UN made an urgent plea last Tuesday for warring sides in Syria to temporarily lay down their arms to allow for aid deliveries to desperate civilians.
Fighting in war-torn Syria has intensified in the week since the United Nations called for a month-long ceasefire in the country, the UN's humanitarian coordinator in Damascus warned on Monday.

The UN made an urgent plea last Tuesday for warring sides in Syria to temporarily lay down their arms to allow for aid deliveries to desperate civilians

The UN Security Council failed to back the appeal last week but was to consider a new draft on a 30-day pause on Monday.

Hours before the talks, the UN's humanitarian coordinator in Syria, Ali al-Zaatari, renewed the plea.

"Since our statement of February 6, when the UN representatives in Syria called for a one-month cessation of hostilities, the situation has worsened," Zaatari said in an emailed statement. 

"We are witnessing some of the worst fighting of the entire conflict, with reports of hundreds of civilian deaths and injuries, massive displacement and the destruction of civilian infrastructure, including medical facilities," he added.

We are witnessing some of the worst fighting of the entire conflict, with reports of hundreds of civilian deaths and injuries, massive displacement and the destruction of civilian infrastructure, including medical facilities

Since February 5, Bashar al-Assad's regime has intensified its bombardment of the besieged enclave outside of Damascus, killing more than 245 civilians including dozens of children.

  'Surrender or starve' in Eastern Ghouta
Read more here:

- Syrian children 'should not be bargaining chips' in Eastern Ghouta's tug of war
- Nine-month-old baby dies from malnourishment under brutal Assad siege in Eastern Ghouta
- Child malnutrition in besieged Eastern Ghouta is at 'highest rate ever recorded' since Syria war
- Eastern Ghouta: A ghetto of hunger and fear
- Food shortage forces Syrians to eat rubbish and animal refuse in Eastern Ghouta
- Assad regime has 'used cluster bombs' in Syria's besieged Eastern Ghouta

Western powers have expressed alarm over the regime's campaign against Eastern Ghouta, where 400,000 people have been besieged since 2013, facing severe food and medicine shortages.

"We keep stressing our message, that this terrible suffering of the Syrian people must stop. They have already borne the brunt of this brutal conflict," Zaatari said.

"I am again appealing to all parties, and those with influence over them, to listen to us and to the affected population: end this intolerable human suffering," he said.

Negotiations are to begin in New York on Monday on a new draft presented by Sweden and Kuwait demanding a 30-day ceasefire and an end to sieges, and diplomats said it could quickly come to a vote at the Security Council. 

It remains unclear whether Russia - which has repeatedly used its veto to protect its Syrian ally Assad - will block the action.

More than 13 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian aid, including 6.1 million who have been displaced within the country during the nearly seven-year war.

The Syrian conflict began when the Baath regime, in power since 1963 and led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings, triggering an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army.

According to independent monitors, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies. The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.

Special Contents

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More