New York, 26 January 2023 (TDI): UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, told Security Council that 12 years of civil war has left Syrians needing aid.

The Syrians are facing massive economic hardships, limited political progress, and the world’s largest displacement crisis.

70 percent of its population is now in need of humanitarian aid. The Envoy said that the Syrian people remained stuck in a deep humanitarian, political, military, security, economic, & human rights crisis of great complexity and almost unimaginable scale.

In a briefing, he called for bringing peace, good faith, and engagement in Syria’s stalled Constitutional Committee process, also, Security Council’s critical humanitarian support.

Dire Need for Peace

UN Special Envoy emphasized that there is a need for a nationwide ceasefire for resolving this conflict. In 2022, Syria remained relatively calm but also faced times of escalations.

Two children collect drinking water in a camp for displaced people in Idlib, Syria.

Syria witnessed an intense military escalation on the northeastern side in late 2022 with fewer airstrikes. Shelling, rocket fire, and intermittent clashes continued. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is also involved in military offenses.

More Engagements

The Special Envoy thanked the Security Council for the unanimous adoption of Resolution 2672 in 2023. The resolution is crucial for the provision of humanitarian aid. The resolution has been renewed for six months.

The delivery of aid is made through the cross-border mechanism that brings food, medicine, and other critical supplies into Syria through a crossing point on the Turkish border.

The scale of the need for aid is increasing since the beginning of the conflict. There is an increase in record poverty, food insecurity, and basic services breakdown covered to a burgeoning economic crisis.

A displaced family from El Teh village, now living at the El Teh camp in northwest Syria.
Economic Crisis and Harsh Weather

Ghada Eltahir Mudawi, the Deputy Director of the UN’s Humanitarian Affairs Coordination Office (OCHA), emphasized that the Syrian people “rightfully expect” the meaningful support of the global community.

The 12 years of conflict and humanitarian crisis-affected 15.3 million people, which is 70 percent of the Syrian’s population.

They all need humanitarian assistance. Civilians including displaced persons in camps are facing harsh winters that led to an ongoing cholera outbreak.

A mother in Raqqa city, Syria, collects medicine for her children suffering from diarrhea and also receives instructions on how to sterilize water to guard against cholera.

The health crisis is followed by fuel shortages and skyrocketing inflation. More donor support is needed, the UN’s 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan for Syria was only funded at 47 percent.

Stalled Peace Process

Special Envoy said that Syria’s Constitutional Committee must resume its work to make more substantive progress towards ending the conflict.

The working of three constituent groups must be resumed. This includes the Syrian Government, the opposition, and civil society. The Committee was founded in 2019 but stalled since May 2022.

Syria’s Constitutional Committee.

No progress is made since Russia criticized the Committee’s choice of venue, and the Syrian Government’s nominees failed to arrive in Geneva.

“The Constitutional Committee could be a door-opener and […] contribute to the wider political process,” said UN Special Envoy.