Ambassador Power on the Humanitarian Crisis in Syria

U.S. Mission to the United Nations - New York, N.Y.

The United States condemns the continued flagrant disregard by the Syrian government and extremist groups of UN Security Council resolution 2139 on humanitarian access. As the UN’s second report on implementation makes clear, there has been no meaningful progress in the humanitarian situation. The Assad regime continues to disregard the Security Council’s repeated demands for providing cross-border access, lifting sieges, allowing life-saving aid to populations in hard-to-reach areas, and ending aerial bombardments of civilian targets.

The Syrian government bears overwhelming responsibility for the humanitarian catastrophe that has engulfed the country and the region, and claimed the lives of over 150,000 people. But because of continuing impediments to access, humanitarian workers in the last month were only able to deliver food assistance to 12 percent of the 3.5 million people in besieged and hard-to-reach areas — Syrians in desperate need. The Syrian government’s authorization of cross-border aid deliveries alone, which it has the power to do immediately with the stroke of a pen, would allow the UN to reach 1.4 million people in hard-to-reach areas with life-saving assistance. But Damascus chooses instead to use food and medicine as weapons of war, causing untold suffering and starvation.

Syria has failed to meet its most basic obligations under international humanitarian law. Yesterday, according to media reports, a Syrian government airstrike on the Ein Jalout elementary school in Aleppo reportedly killed 19 people, 10 of whom were children. Assad’s forces continue to drop barrel bombs packed with shrapnel on civilians, and they continue to wage a war of starvation on entire neighborhoods by preventing food from reaching those trapped within.

The United States will work with our international partners and the Security Council to identify further steps that can be taken to address the Syrian government’s demonstrable failure to implement Security Council Resolution 2139.

- Source: U.S. Mission to the UN in New York

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