Fighting in Syria has only 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.
Ali al-Zaatari, the UN Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria, expressed dismay at the failure of the UN Security Council to back an urgent appeal the UN made last Tuesday for an immediate ceasefire to allow for aid deliveries to desperate civilians.
“Yet, sadly, the call for an immediate cessation of hostilities to enable the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the protection of civilians, including the evacuation of the critically ill and wounded, has gone unanswered,” said Al-Zaatari in a statement released on Monday.
“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.”
“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,” Al-Zaatari added.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the European Commission on Monday said: “The military escalation throughout Syria, including the events we have seen on the Israeli border over the weekend, is deeply worrying. It could indeed lead to a dangerous spillover.”
Assad regime and Russian airstrikes in rebel-held areas have killed 230 civilians in the past week in some of the conflict’s worst violence that may also constitute war crimes, said Zeid Ra‘ad al-Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Saturday.
The United Nations called on Feb. 6 for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire of at least a month across the country.
More than 700 patients in the besieged Damascus enclave of eastern Ghouta now await medical evacuation, said Elizabeth Hoff, World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Syria. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)