"Unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in Syria demands Security Council's attention" – Briefing

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Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Ursula Mueller said a humanitarian catastrophe was unfolding in northwest Syria. Referencing 14 Syrian women in Idlib she spoke to last week, she said, “What is happening in northwest Syria, they said, is beyond imagination. It is not humanly tolerable. They told me of children so traumatized they no longer speak.”

Mueller said the cross-border modality of delivering aid is absolutely essential to the humanitarian response in northwestern Syria. People in need in Idlib cannot currently be reached at this scale, in such a timely and direct manner, through any other means, she warned. As the Secretary-General has stated, Mueller said, the Security Council has a critical role to play in support of these humanitarian efforts.

She also briefed the Security Council on the Secretary-General’s report on humanitarian access in the northeast, which said ‘in order for all humanitarian needs to be met, the Syrian Government would need to facilitate greater crossline access to northeast Syria, particularly for medical assistance.’

The Assistant Secretary-General said civilians remained extremely vulnerable in the northeast, with an estimated 1.9 million requiring humanitarian assistance. She said, “If viable alternatives to Al Yarubiah are not found for medical items, the gap between the humanitarian response and humanitarian needs will increase further. If medicine runs out and medical facilities are unable to carry out life-saving procedures, deaths will occur.”

Mueller echoed the Secretary-General’s renewed call for an immediate ceasefire and end to the humanitarian catastrophe and avoid an uncontrollable escalation.