I continue to follow the situation in Syria closely and with grave concern.
I was abhorred by the chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria, and the death and injury of many innocent civilians.
I have long stated that there needs to be accountability for such crimes, in line with existing international norms and Security Council resolutions.
I have been following reports of the air strikes against the Shayrat Airbase in Syria conducted by the United States.
Mindful of the risk of escalation, I appeal for restraint to avoid any acts that could deepen the suffering of the Syrian people.
These events underscore my belief that there is no other way to solve the conflict than through a political solution. I call on the parties to urgently renew their commitment to making progress in the Geneva talks.
A political solution also remains essential for progress in the fight against terrorism.
The Security Council has the primary responsibility for international peace and security. I call on the Council to unite and exercise that responsibility.
For too long, international law has been ignored in the Syrian conflict, and it is our shared duty to uphold international standards of humanity. This is a prerequisite to ending the unrelenting suffering of the people of Syria.
Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on alleged chemical weapons attack in Idlib
The Secretary-General is deeply disturbed by the reports of alleged use of chemical weapons in an airstrike in the Khan Shaykhun area of southern Idlib, Syria. The Secretary-General expresses his heartfelt condolences to victims of the incident and their families.
The United Nations is not currently in a position to independently verify these reports. The OPCW Fact Finding Mission has announced that it has begun gathering information to attempt to confirm if chemical weapons were used.
The Secretary-General recalls that the Security Council previously determined that the use of chemical weapons anywhere constitutes a threat to international peace and security and, that it affirmed that the use of chemical weapons constitutes a serious violation of international law.
Includes: The provision of urgent assistance by UN agencies and partners to civilians displaced in Aleppo following the end of the fighting; the adoption by the Security Council of a resolution on a ceasefire across Syria; and the UN’s concerns about the lack of water supply affecting four million inhabitants in Damascus, and UN’s call for donor support for displaced civilians in Aleppo More
The Special Envoy welcomes the announcement of a nationwide ceasefire between the Government of Syria and armed opposition groups in Syria, to come into effect at 00:00 hours on Friday, 30 December 2016. The Special Envoy notes that a comprehensive cessation of hostilities remains a cornerstone of the framework laid down in Security Council resolution 2254 (2015). The Special Envoy hopes that the implementation of the agreement will save civilian lives, facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance across Syria, and pave the way for productive talks in Astana. The Special Envoy is of the view that these developments should contribute to inclusive and productive intra-Syrian negotiations to be convened under UN auspices on 8 February 2017. Geneva, 29 December 2016
JE: Thanks really for waiting. We just finished a difficult humanitarian taskforce meeting. Why is it difficult, because the member states that are supposed to help us get access to civilians in the crossfire are poles apart in how they regard what is happening in Syria. We are not having a united humanitarian diplomacy on the parties and we see that in a diminishing access on the ground.
The December plan for access cross front line was approved finally by the government of Syria and we had 800,000 of the 930,000 people we asked to get access to, were granted permission for.
Geneva, 6 October 2016 SdeM: I am here with my friend and colleague Jan Egeland, because we have just ended an important, in our opinion, Humanitarian Task Force meeting, so will first elaborate, at length actually, about where we are in the situation and then give the floor to Jan Egeland to summarize where we are on the Humanitarian Task Force progress.
No one can deny that we are in an emergency mode, let’s be frank, regarding Syria, regarding Aleppo, about the future of this conflict. What has happened the other day when the two co-chairs, who have been working hard, I have seen them with my eyes, on possible cessation of hostilities based on the 9th of September, decided, unfortunately and sadly, to suspend their own bilateral discussions on the cessation of hostilities, it was and has been a serious setback. So pretending that that was not the case would be unfair towards the Syrian people, and towards common sense and public opinion. So let me take stock first of all and clarify on consequences on that as to the architecture of international involvement on the attempt to solve the Syrian crisis and in particular establish some type of reduction of violence, humanitarian assess and political process.
The Secretary-General has decided to establish an internal United Nations Board of Inquiry to investigate the incident involving a United Nations – Syrian Arab Red Crescent relief operation to Urum al-Kubra, Syria, on 19 September 2016.
In the evening of 19 September, as 31 trucks delivered lifesaving assistance in Urum al-Kubra, a few kilometres west of Aleppo city, humanitarians came under fire. At least 18 people, including the head of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in Urum al-Kubra, were killed. The warehouse where supplies were being unloaded, as well as a nearby medical clinic, were also severely damaged.
The Board of Inquiry will ascertain the facts of the incident and report to the Secretary-General upon the completion of its work. The Secretary-General will review the report and decide what further steps to take.
The Secretary-General urges all parties concerned to cooperate fully with the Board.
The Secretary-General is appalled by the chilling military escalation in the city of Aleppo, which is facing the most sustained and intense bombardment since the start of the Syrian conflict.
Since the announcement two days ago by the Syrian Army of an offensive to capture eastern Aleppo, there have been repeated reports of airstrikes involving the use of incendiary weapons and advanced munitions such as bunker buster bombs. The Secretary-General underlines that the apparent systematic use of these types of indiscriminate weapons in densely populated areas may amount to war crimes.
The Secretary-General considers this a dark day for the global commitment to protect civilians. The international community has to unite to send a clear message that it will not tolerate the use of indiscriminate and ever more deadly and powerful weapons against civilians.