The United Kingdom’s Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Tobias Ellwood, called “on all those with influence over the Syrian Government, in particular Russia, to ensure full and unimpeded access is given to all besieged areas immediately.”
“400,000 people are estimated to be living under siege in Syria – just 10% are in Madaya,” Ellwood said earlier today ahead of UNSC discussions on Syria.
The British minister said it is “unacceptable that more than 400,000 people are estimated to be living under siege in Syria. On Friday UN Security Council discussions will rightly keep the international community’s focus on the Asad regime’s willful obstruction of humanitarian aid deliveries.”
“The UK will continue to work to secure unhindered access and delivery of international humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people,” Ellwood added.
The Syrian Coalition earlier warned of a humanitarian catastrophe threatening the lives of civilians besieged by the Assad regime and Hezbollah militias. Pro-regime forces have laid a crippling siege on towns of Madaya and Biqqin northwest of Damascus for several months blocking the entry of basics to nearly 40 civilians trapped inside.
In January 5, the Syrian Coalition’s legal committee called upon the Arab League, the United Nations and the UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura to shoulder their responsibilities towards the civilians trapped by Assad gangs and Hezbollah militias in Madaya, Biqqin and other besieged areas in Syria.
The committee stressed that urgent action must be taken to save the lives of innocent civilians, lift the siege and allow immediate and unfettered access to food convoys and medical supplies in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2139.
Paragraph VI of resolution 2139 demands that “all parties, in particular the Syrian authorities, promptly allow rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access for UN humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners, including across conflict lines and across borders, in order to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches people in need through the most direct routes.”
More recently, UN Security Council resolution 2254 (2015) called on the parties to “immediately allow humanitarian agencies rapid, safe and unhindered access throughout Syria by most direct routes, allow immediate, humanitarian assistance to reach all people in need, in particular in all besieged and hard-to-reach areas.” (Source: Syrian Coalition)