The United Nations is pursuing diplomacy at the highest level to get a ceasefire in Syria, where the besieged enclave of eastern Ghouta is at “breaking point” and Idlib governorate is a “catastrophe”, a senior UN official said on Tuesday.
Eastern Ghouta is particularly vulnerable, said Ramesh Rajasingham, UN deputy regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syria crisis, with 400,000 people besieged in an area that is increasingly sealed off from any outside help.
“What we would like to see is an immediate ceasefire – and I think that’s very possible. We’ve had it before, it’s not pie in the sky,” Rajasingham told Reuters. “A breaking point is when people die unnecessarily, when they could be saved. So we’re at that breaking point,” he added.
“If there’s a will it can be done, definitely, and this is what the United Nations is pushing for in all its political initiatives.” Commenting on the situation in eastern Ghouta, he said hundreds of patients desperately needed medical evacuation and many were dying while they waited.
Rajasingham warned that Idlib governorate was “a catastrophe in every single sense” – humanitarian, medical, political and military.
More than 330,000 people have been displaced in Idlib governorate since December – more than in the battle for Aleppo a year ago – taking the total number of displaced in the area to about 2 million, he said.
Echoing the same concerns, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Monday said that “history will record failure to stop the fighting and will lay the blame on those responsible.”
The ongoing bombing campaign by the Russian and Assad regime forces has killed over 500 civilians and wounded thousand more as the last week in eastern Ghouta has been described as the deadliest since 2015. According to unofficial figures, over 250 civilian were killed in eastern Ghouta alone in less than a week. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Reuters)