DPI Syria Update No. 98, 10 June 2015

In Geneva, UN envoy meets Syria stakeholders amid ongoing consultations
The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria is continuing a series of critical meetings with Syrian and international stakeholders as part of the ongoing Geneva consultations and in an effort to find a political solution to the country’s five-year long conflict. A spokesperson said on 10 June that Staffan de Mistura – who has been engaged since 5 May with representatives of the Syrian Government, the Syrian opposition coalition and 39 Syrian political and civil society groups – will continue the consultation process into the month of July with the “sincere hope and belief that guns will fall silent one day.” “The sooner they fall silent, the more lives will be saved,” Mr. de Mistura’s spokesperson added. “It is the responsibility of all Syrian, regional and international actors to try to bring that day forward and to make every effort to protect civilians under any circumstances and at all times.”

He and his deputy envoy, Ramzy Ezzeldine Ramzy, have also held 26 meetings with representatives of concerned Member States from the Security Council and the region, as well as regional organizations. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=51112

Meetings between 4-9 June as part of Geneva consultations
On 4 June, the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, met with the president and members of the political committee of the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (SOC) in Istanbul. He listened to their views regarding the operationalization and implementation of the Geneva Communiqué. Both parties agreed on the importance and urgency of finding a political solution to the ongoing conflict. They also concurred on the urgency of an immediate halt to the killing and targeting of civilians. “My visit to SOC demonstrates, once again, that the purpose of these consultations was and remains to give the chance to all Syrians to share their views on what a future Syria should look like,” Mr. de Mistura said. Meanwhile in Geneva, Deputy Special Envoy Ramzy Ezzeldine Ramzy met with Mr. Samir Aita and Mr. Ziad Tlas who briefed him on the deteriorating situation in Syria. Mr. Ramzy also met with a delegation from Japan, led by Ambassador Misako Kaji, who briefed him on Japan’s support for the United Nations’ efforts to ameliorate the humanitarian situation in Syria. They discussed the ongoing initiatives to help Syrians reach a political solution to the conflict. On 5 June, Mr. Ramzy met with representatives of the Union of Syriac Women and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who briefed him on the situation in Syria.

On 8 June, Mr. de Mistura met with a delegation from the Aga Khan Foundation. “Civil society organizations are an important element in conflict resolution, particularly their efforts to ensure that views and concerns of all parts of societies are addressed as they can bring the voice of people and communities on the ground,” Mr. de Mistura said after the meeting. “This is why their contribution is critical for a sustainable political solution which would promote human rights, pluralism and democracy,” he added. The Geneva consultations are a rolling process to seek views of all Syrian and relevant regional and international parties on the operationalization of the Geneva Communiqué. On 9 June, Mr. de Mistura met with a delegation from The Day After Association and a delegation from the Cordoba Working Group. Both delegations shared with the Special Envoy their perspectives for a political solution in Syria and discussed the worsening situation on the ground.



UN envoy condemns continuing use of barrel bombs, killing of civilians in Syria conflict
The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria on 8 June condemned the continuing use of barrel bombs in Syria’s ongoing conflict and called on all parties to respect the sanctity of civilian life. Addressing the noon briefing at UN Headquarters in New York, Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters that the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, had condemned the use of the censured weaponry following reports of renewed bombing from Government aircraft in a town in Idlib province in north-western Syria.



Security Council ‘outraged’ by intensifying attacks against civilians
Amid surging violence in Aleppo, the United Nations Security Council on 5 June expressed “outrage” at all attacks against civilians in Syria, as well as indiscriminate attacks. “The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern at the continued high level of violence in Syria and condemned all violence directed against civilians and civilian infrastructure, including medical facilities,” according to a press statement.


Mediterranean crossings in 2015 already top 100,000
Refugee and migrant arrivals to Europe across the Mediterranean so far in 2015 have crossed 100,000, with record numbers now arriving every day in the Greek islands, UNHCR said on June 9. Official figures show that as of 8 June a total of 103,000 refugees and migrants had arrived in Europe: 54,000 in Italy, 48,000 in Greece, 91 on Malta and 920 in Spain.





UNRWA immunized 12,000 Palestine refugee children in Syria in April
In April, UNRWA and the Syrian Ministry of Health ran a mumps, measles and rubella vaccination campaign. More than 12,000 Palestine refugee children aged between six months and five years were immunized in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) health centers across the country with vaccinations provided by UNICEF and the Ministry of Health. UNRWA said on 9 June that the spread of infectious disease has increased among Palestine refugees in Syria. The conflict and sustained drought-like conditions have led to widespread displacement and a shortage of reliable clean water supplies, which have resulted in overcrowded and unsanitary living conditions and poor sanitation practices. UNRWA said that it remains committed to providing a robust and comprehensive immunization program throughout Syria.


UNRWA support continues to those affected by armed violence in Yarmouk
UNRWA said on 7 June that it had conducted humanitarian operations in Yalda, Babila and Beit Saham, initiating a third round of food distribution to civilians displaced and affected by armed violence in Yarmouk. A total of 1,200 families were provided with food parcels and packets of bread. Those receiving assistance included  Palestinian and Syrian families displaced or affected by conflict, plus the host communities. Although this distribution focused on food, UNRWA missions deliver a broad range of critical humanitarian assistance to affected families, including medical services, dental services, fresh water, water purification treatments, mattresses, blankets, family kitchen sets and hygiene kits.


Millions in Iraq need greater humanitarian support, warns top UN relief official
Millions of people are in need of greater assistance across Iraq, said Stephen O’Brien, the new Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, following a two-day visit to the strife-torn country. “It’s imperative at this critical time we do more to mitigate the suffering of the Iraqi people. Much has been done, but the needs continue to increase and more is needed,” stated Mr. O’Brien, who assumed his post as UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator at the beginning of June. On his first mission in his capacity as Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. O’Brien visited Baghdad on 8 June, where he met people recently displaced from Ramadi. On 9 June, exactly one year after Mosul fell, causing mass displacement, he visited a camp for internally displaced people in Erbil, as well as refugees from Syria.


On-going campaigns
#4Syria campaign was launched on 20 March 2015 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to highlight the Syrian conflict, which has entered its fifth year. The campaign calls for an end to the conflict and seeks to raise funds for UNRWA’s programmes to support Palestinian refugees from Syria.  It features testimonies of Palestine refugees; voices that, amid the tragedy, brim with positive energy and determination, as well as documents highlighting UNRWA’s emergency work in the region. View the campaign at: http://www.unrwa.org/syria-crisis/syria4thanniversary

#SaveYarmouk was launched in January 2015 to shed light on the grave deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yarmouk, following the escalation of fighting. The campaign includes stories and updates from Yarmouk as well as recorded voices of residents describing the horrible conditions in which they are living. With no access to regular food supplies, clean water, health care, electricity or heating fuel, Yarmouk’s civilian population is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. For those who wish to support UNRWA’s work in Syria, donation is possible through the campaign’s website: http://www.unrwa.org/crisis-in-yarmouk.

UNICEF and its partners are committed to keeping Syrian children from becoming a ‘lost generation’. Critical efforts are being made to minimize the impact of the crisis on children – including in the life-saving areas of health, nutrition, immunization, water and sanitation, as well as in the future of children, through education and child protection.



UN Twitter:

Syria: Latest @ReliefWeb humanitarian snapshot provides overview of #SyriaCrisis http://bit.ly/1GanqaA

9 June 2015

More than 100,000 refugees & migrants have crossed the Mediterranean in 2015. The latest: http://trib.al/oyZA8PJ

9 June 2015

@UNICEF & Ministry of Health helped us immunize 12,000 Palestine refugee children in #Syria: https://goo.gl/dzvBVF

9 June 2015

“It goes above the clouds?” his eyes wide with disbelief. “Above the rain?” http://trib.al/S8EPl0m #Finland #Syria

10 June 2015

Approximately 9,000 Palestine refugee children in #Syria are vaccinated annually: https://goo.gl/0i8ClW

8 June 2015


According to UNHCR, there are currently 50 million refugees and 75% can’t return to their countries in the foreseeable future because of continued war.

We who work in development aid are finding ourselves responding more and more to challenges in humanitarian contexts which in the past, as a development agency, we have not worked in. Our colleague, Magdy Martínez-Solimán blogs about the role of development in providing human dignity for refugees and crisis-affected displaced.

Photo: UNDP Syria


UN Radio in Arabic:

600 migrants and refugees arrive daily in Greek islands (Many of them from Syria via the Mediterranean)


Ban: Bombs might kill terrorists, but good governance defeats terrorism


Interview with UNICEF on early marriages among Syrians in Jordan


SC members condemn latest attacks against civilians in Syria


Geneva Consultations, Ramzi stressed on the importance of women’s role in any political process


Huge influx of refugees, mostly from Syria, to Greece


Geneva consultations: De Mistura holds talks in Turkey


Saudi Ambassador stresses on the need to address the issue of foreign fighters who fight with governments (namely Syria)


Feature: new tool to help Syrian refugees in Jordan get cash assistance fast.



Relevant links to UN Secretariat, Agencies, Funds and Programmes on Syria

DPI Focus Page on Syria:



UN humanitarian agencies :

UNICEF: http://www.unicef.org/media/index.html

WFP: http://www.wfp.org/countries/syria

OCHA: http:/unocha.org/syria , twitter.com/ocha_syria , facebook.com/UNOCHA.Syria

WHO: http://www.who.int/countries/syr/en/

UNHCR: http://www.unhcr.org/pages/4f86c2426.html

OHCHR: http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/NewsSearch.aspx?CID=SY

UNRWA: http://www.unrwa.org/


UN on social media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/UN

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/un_photo/

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/unitednations

Tumblr: http://united-nations.tumblr.com/


Photo galleries:
UNHCR: http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49c3646c25d.html
UNRWA: http://www.unrwa.org/photogallery.php
OCHA: http://www.unocha.org/media-resources/photo-gallery
UNICEF: http://www.unicef.org/photography/photo_2013.php#UNI82253
IRIN: http://www.irinnews.org/photo/