March 28, 2014
In a letter sent to the Security Council this week, the Syrian Coalition expressed its deep concerns about the massive failure of the Assad regime to comply with UNSCR 2139. The Coalition also reaffirmed the opposition’s commitment to international humanitarian law and outlined a number of the steps it has taken and is prepared to take to ensure compliance with UNSCR 2139, including the protection of NGOs and facilitation of their work in opposition areas and the establishment of relief offices to deliver humanitarian supplies to civilians.
The consequences of the regime’s 3-year offensive against the Syrian people have been catastrophic: over 9.3 million Syrians are now dependent on humanitarian help. 3.5 million Syrians are unable to receive assistance because of the Assad regime’s deliberate obstruction, while over 175,000 Syrians remain trapped in cities besieged by regime forces.
Last month, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2139, which requires the regime to abide by international law, stop dropping barrel bombs, end torture, lift its sieges on civilians, and allow rapid and unhindered humanitarian access. One month later, the situation has not improved. In fact, the Assad regime has only intensified its assault on the Syrian people.
Numerous cases of regime non-compliance were confirmed by the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance report issued this week and today’s briefing by Under-Secretary-General Valerie Amos. The Syrian regime has continued to use artillery shelling and barrel bombs. Regime forces do not distinguish civilian from military targets. And arbitrary administrative hurdles continue to be used to prevent the rapid delivery of aid to areas in need.
In addressing the regime’s record of non-compliance, Dr. Najib Ghadbian, Syrian Coalition Special Representative to the US, noted, “The facts are clear and demand a response from the Security Council. As long as the regime is allowed to deny humanitarian aid to people in need, millions of Syrians will suffer.”
“Recognizing the grave and worsening situation in Syria, the Security Council must show that it is serious and determined to stop the humanitarian crisis”, noted Dr. Ghadbian. “The Syrian regime has for three years fundamentally failed to respect its obligations under international law. The Security Council must be prepared to use the considerable tools at its disposal to compel the regime to comply”, added Dr. Ghadbian.
“Council action is needed now. The credibility of the international community, and more importantly, the lives of innocent Syrians are at stake.”