The United States urged the UN Security Council to strongly condemn the Assad regime and its allies for their immoral use of essential goods and medicine as a tool to force their own people to surrender.
“We must work together to put a stop to these offenses immediately,” Nikki Haley, the US Permanent Representative to the United Nation, said in a statement released on Thursday.
“Using starvation as a weapon of war is unconscionable,” Haley added. Her remarks came following a sobering briefing by the UN under-secretary for humanitarian affairs Stephen O’Brien on the devastating humanitarian toll of the war in Syria.
“Despite multiple calls to allow unimpeded humanitarian access to reach these people, the Syrian regime and its backers continue to block aid delivery, including desperately needed food and medical supplies,” Haley said.
“When it is not attacking civilians with bullets and barrel bombs, the regime uses red tape and bureaucracy to delay and hinder access. As a result, countless numbers of people have died.”
Meanwhile, head of the Red Cross and Red Crescent said that humanitarian benefits from funds raised for Syria at an upcoming aid conference require peace and stability to be effective.
Elhadj As Sy, secretary-general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), repeated his call for the warring sides in Syria to stop fighting after he returned from a third trip to the country, his first since last year.
A major conference in Brussels next week will set out plans to help the country rebuild once there is an end to war.
The Assad regime forces and Iranian-backed militias continue to besiege many towns and villages across Syria, blocking the entry of humanitarian aid to force the civilian population to leave their homes. Among the victims of these tactics were the people of the town of Darayya west of Damascus, the Wadi Barada valley to the northwest, and most recently the district of Alwaer in Homs.
The health situation is deteriorating in eastern Ghouta near Damascus, where 300,000 people are besieged and none of the three hospitals is functioning, the World Health Organization said on Monday in a call for access to deliver aid.
“Time is running out for the people of East Ghouta. As health needs increase, available resources are being depleted day by day. Our main goal now is to provide access to lifesaving care for thousands of vulnerable men, women and children immediately,” Elizabeth Hoff, WHO Representative in Syria, said in a statement.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria Ali Zaatari warned of an imminent humanitarian disaster unless humanitarian access is granted immediately to those in need in the provinces of Rural Damascus and Idlib.
Zaatari called for immediate access to the besieged towns in these two provinces where civilians suffer daily violence and lack of basic needs. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)