In his briefing to the Security Council, Geir Pedersen stated that the nation has been in a state of “strategic stalemate” since March 2020. The ongoing conflict has resulted in stationary front lines, ongoing violence, and occasional instances of intensified fighting.
The individual in charge stated to the ambassadors that the governing powers are increasing their hold, while outside military forces continue to be involved.
Mr. Pedersen cautioned that the absence of a significant political system has resulted in increasing chaos and aggression, creating a highly perilous environment at present.
Syria not only grapples with internal conflict, but also the concerning potential for an increased spread of violence following the Hamas terrorist attacks on October 7.
Spillover has begun
The speaker mentioned that the spillover into Syria is not just a possibility, but it has already started. They referred to the recent airstrikes, believed to be from Israel, that have targeted airports in Aleppo and Damascus multiple times. These attacks have caused the UN’s Humanitarian Air Service to temporarily cease operations in those areas.
In the past three years, Syria has seen a significant increase in violence, causing harm to civilians, injuries, and damage to infrastructure. Areas under government control have been targeted more frequently, with unclaimed attacks on a military academy in Homs and rocket attacks by the extremist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham resulting in civilian casualties.
The envoy reported that the government has intensified its attacks in the northwest, similar to those before the 2020 conflict. This has resulted in displacement of more than 120,000 civilians and destruction of essential services and infrastructure.
The northeastern region has recently experienced a notable increase in violence after a terrorist attack in Ankara, resulting in Turkish military strikes and civilian deaths.
In the meantime, the militant organization ISIL continues to be operational, conducting assaults on multiple fronts.
Stop the suffering
Over the last month, Mr. Pedersen stated that Syrian citizens have experienced considerable hardship, including a declining economy, damaged infrastructure, allegations of arrests and human rights violations, lack of improvement for those who are being detained or have gone missing, and hazardous circumstances for the return of refugees.
The envoy emphasized that the only solution is to quickly decrease the level of conflict and prioritize a trustworthy political plan that upholds Syria’s sovereignty, unity, independence, and territorial integrity. This will allow the Syrian people to achieve their rightful desires.
Mr. Pedersen warned the international community against complacency, noting that “the already-fraying status quo may fully collapse.”
“We need to immediately de-escalate the situation in Syria,” he urged.
Humanitarian operation impacted
Furthermore, in his remarks to the Security Council, Edem Wosornu, the Director of Operations and Advocacy at the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), expressed concerns over the severe increase in conflict in the northern region and its significant effects on humanitarian staff and efforts, specifically in the northwest.
Several aid workers were among the fatalities, and numerous organizations were compelled to temporarily halt their activities.
Conflict has also caused significant harm to essential services and infrastructure, such as over 40 healthcare facilities, 24 schools, and 20 water systems, and has also had a temporary impact on the primary power station in Idlib.
According to Ms. Wosornu, the Syria Humanitarian Response Plan is only 30% funded after ten months of this year. OCHA is concerned that without more funding, many people will not receive the necessary support to survive the harsh winter months.
During a briefing in Cairo, she informed ambassadors that the current state of affairs in the region is cause for great concern, not only for the region itself but also for the world as a whole. Her trip to the region also involved a stop in Syria.
“However, as the number of individuals requiring urgent humanitarian and protection assistance continues to grow in increasingly difficult circumstances, the situation in Syria undoubtedly requires our persistent attention and efforts,” she stated.