DPI Syria Update No 141, 6 April 2016

Special Envoy de Mistura in Moscow ahead of restart of intra-Syrian talks
The Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, travelled to Moscow on 5 April for a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The meeting took place at the Special Envoy’s initiative in order to discuss preparations for the forthcoming resumption of the intra-Syrian talks, which are set to resume in the week of 11 April in Geneva. Speaking to reporters in Geneva, UN Spokesperson Ahmad Fawzi noted that those were proximity talks and that delegations would be arriving at various moments, and the meetings would be held as of the week of 11 April. In response to a question, Mr. Fawzi said that every delegation with which the Special Envoy had met had expressed its intention to continue the intra-Syrian talks process.

UN calls for end to use of explosive weapons in civilian areas
In a joint message to mark the International Day of Mine Awareness on 4 April, the UN Resident Coordinator for Syria, Yacoub El Hillo, and the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, Kevin Kennedy, warned that explosive weapons continue to challenge the humanitarian response and Syria’s future recovery. Of particular concern to the United Nations is the use of booby traps specifically targeting returning populations by ISIL, cluster munitions, as well as the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. “The majority of people killed or injured by the use of explosive weapons are civilians,” said Mr. Kennedy. “In addition to the deaths and injuries these weapons cause, their use in populated areas devastates the infrastructure vital for civilians’ survival. Schools, hospitals and agricultural land go unused until clearance teams can reach them. We continue to call for all parties to the conflict to stop the use of explosive weapons in civilian populated areas”.

UN food agency launches school meals programme for refugee children
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) announced the launch on 4 April of a school meals programme to support both Lebanese and Syrian children attending public primary schools across Lebanon. “Education is vital to equip the youth of Lebanon and Syria with the tools they will need to contribute to a region that is going through such turmoil and difficulty,” said WFP Lebanon Country Director Dominik Heinrich. “By providing children with daily, nutritious meals at school, WFP can ensure improved nutritional intake for these children as well as encouraging their parents to send them to school regularly,” he added. As Lebanon hosts more than one million Syrian refugees, its public services, including the education sector, are overstretched. The programme, funded by the Italian Development Cooperation, allows WFP to provide daily meals for 10,000 vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian refugee children attending 13 primary schools.

UNRWA delivers much needed aid to Yarmouk and nearby areas
For the second month in a row, UNRWA provided critical humanitarian support to Palestine refugees from Yarmouk and the nearby areas of Yalda, Babila and Beit Saham, south of Damascus. In a statement on 4 April, the agency said it resumed aid distribution in Yalda on 13 February after an eight-month hiatus. Through a total of 19 convoys, UNRWA distributed 5,700 food parcels during the first week, 19,160 blankets during the second week, 11,600 hygiene kits over the third week, and 6,000 additional food parcels in the fourth and fifth weeks to families from Yarmouk, Yalda, Babila and Beit Saham. In addition to vital aid, UNRWA was able to run mobile health and dental clinics for the first time since 23 September 2015.

UN advisor urges allowing medical services into besieged areas
Following a meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) on humanitarian access on 1 April, Special Advisor to the UN Special Envoy for Syria Jan Egeland expressed concerns at the continued lack of access to besieged areas in Syria. “I will not hide that we are afraid now to lose some of the momentum that we got after the Munich meeting,” Mr. Egeland told reporters in Geneva. He also said that three days earlier, three children had bled to death in Madaya because their medical evacuation was not granted. “We are still not where we should be according to international law on medical services and health services for the besieged areas,” he added, noting that surgical equipment is still taken off convoys, the besieged areas remain off-limits to medical personal, and medical evacuation is not permitted. Mr. Egeland urged the Government and opposition groups to break the impasse. “We must continue to get to the remaining besieged areas and we cannot allow medical services to be exempted”, he noted.

The next ISSG meeting on humanitarian access will take place on 7 April in Geneva.

UN Radio in Arabic
Alaa, a Syrian student, aspires to rebuild her country after completing her studies

United Nations calls on all parties to halt the use of weapons in residential areas

United Nations calls for a world free of threat of mines

United Nations calls for humanitarian access for more than 4 million people in Syria

UNHCR calls on the international community to do more for children and the future of Syria

Making dolls keeps Shamsa and Zuha’s memory alive

Hope of a Syrian girl is no water outage at their home in Aleppo

News: @WFP launches #SchoolMeals programme for Lebanese, Syrian kids across Lebanon http://j.mp/1RXF7mK  pic.twitter.com/IFDzryFIdC

-4 April


More countries need to step up and provide solutions for Syrian refugees – Ban Ki-moon http://trib.al/wtWG2Y4  pic.twitter.com/OVe4tUVddX

-3 April




“I love being in Brazil,” says Hanan, a refugee from Syria, breaking into a broad smile. “I’m so happy to be here. I have my friends here and my teacher is the best.”

After four years of war and flight, Hanan and her family relocated to São Paulo, just over a year ago under Brazil’s humanitarian visa programme, which offers those fleeing the Syria conflict a chance to start over. UNHCR shares her story.


-4 April


As the full extent of the damage to Palmyra in Syria is being revealed, evidence of looting there highlights how important it is to contain the illicit trade in cultural properties in order to preserve heritage. UNESCO explains.


-2 April


Alaa, a third-year architecture student at a University in Portugal, is proud of what she has been able to achieve. She comes from Syria, where, after two years at university in Damascus, she interrupted her studies to escape worsening security conditions.

Thanks to a non-profit initiative called Global Platform for Syrian Students, she is able to complete her university degree and pursue her passion in the new country.

UNHCR shares her story.


-1 April




Even though they’ve seen the worst of the Syrian war and lost their parents, these resilient kids still have their smile.

These young boys are some of the 50 some orphans living in an orphanage in Homs, Syria, which is supported by the #UnitedNations Refugee Agency. The orphanage is home to 25 boys and 31 girls.

Sadly, the Syrian war is taking a heavy, heavy toll on hundreds of thousands of young children inside Syria. The orphanage currently provides a haven for 56 children ranging from 2 to 20 years. Nearly 100 years old, the orphanage one of the few care facilities in Homs that provides shelter, care and education for children who have lost parents due to the crisis.

This year, #UNHCR is increasing aid and psycho-social work at the orphanage. Regram @unrefugees / @andrewmcconnellphoto


-1 April

Social media campaigns

#ActofHumanity: UNICEF launched on 29 March a series of animated films entitled “Unfairy Tales” to help frame positive perceptions towards the tens of millions of children and young people on the move globally. The Unfairy Tales are part of an initiative, #actofhumanity, emphasising that children are children, no matter where they come from, and that every child has rights and deserves a fair chance.

UNICEF will engage audiences with social media messaging to use the hashtag #actofhumanity to share stories about refugees and migrant children. The Unfairy Tales, plus the real stories behind the animation and other media assets can be seen at: http://weshare.unicef.org/Package/2AMZIF3BZ9S


#RememberUs – #Syria5Years is an advocacy and fundraising campaign to tell the story of Palestine refugees in Syria after five years of armed conflict. In the last five years, the Palestine refugees of Syria have been experiencing tremendous hardship with over 60 per cent of the 560,000 registered with UNRWA displaced throughout Syria and further afield. Through the campaign, UNRWA remembers the victims to the Syrian conflict, in particular the Palestine refugees, many of whom have lost their communities, family members, houses and livelihoods. To date, 16 UNRWA staff members have lost their lives in the armed conflict in Syria. This is the largest death toll for any single United Nations agency working in Syria.


Arabic: http://goo.gl/vVRZRw


#MyVoiceMySchool- #‎Myvoicemyschool, running for a second year, is an educational project linking Palestine refugee youth in Syria with their peers in England and Belgium.

Through live video conversations and customized teaching materials, students and teachers explore how education can help them meet their future aspirations.



#IamSyrian is a global engagement campaign on social media platforms launched by the World Food Programme (WFP) at the London Syria conference in February 2016. It offers global citizens the opportunity to show solidarity with the Syrian people by sharing their stories, sending messages of support and demonstrating how the world continues to care about their plight. The campaign will culminate in an exhibition at the UN General Assembly in September 2016.



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

DPI Focus Page on Syria:



UN System agencies :

UN Women: http://www.unwomen.org/

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/