March 15 Marks Three Years Since Start Of Violence In Syria
Almost three years since the turmoil started raging in Syria, the crisis continues to deepen and igniting international outrage and support to end the human rights catastrophe.
In her remarks in New York, US Permanent Representative Samantha Power said that even with the of passing of the Security Council adopted resolution 2139 last year addressing the humanitarian and human rights catastrophe in Syria, multiple crises emerged instead.
According to Ms. Power, it is estimated that 12.2 million people need humanitarian assistance in Syria.
“At this time last year, 9.3 million people were said to need humanitarian assistance.” – Ms. Power
In summary, that’s nearly three million more people who need aid to survive, in just a year.
Assad Regime Denying Aid, Causing Civilians More Harm Than Ever
So what is fueling the crisis? Well, according to Ms. Power although more people in Syria need humanitarian aid than ever before, the Assad regime is on a mission to deny aid and is causing more civilian harm than ever before.
Since resolution 2139 was adopted by the Security Council, the Assad regime has dropped at least 1,950 barrel bombs, which have killed at least 6,480 people, 95 percent of whom were civilians instead.
Assad denies having any barrel bombs.
In addition, the UN Commission of Inquiry documented many attacks on civilians. To cite an example, one of them occurred on Aleppo’s al-Shaar neighbourhood on November 6th, in which the first barrel bomb reportedly killed civilians in its area of impact, and buried more in rubble.
The worst thing is when others rushed to the area to dig out the people buried and assist the wounded, the government dropped a second barrel bomb.
With regards to delivery of aid, Ms. Power stated that the lack of medical supplies is no accident – it is the result of the Assad regime’s routine confiscation of medical and surgical supplies transported by UN convoys.
She said the UN and its implementing partners have tried to be maximally transparent with the Syrian regime by allowing the government to inspect cross-line shipments, going beyond the provisions in Security Council resolutions 2165 and 2191.
However, the outcome and response is negative where the regime seizes medical supplies such as surgical items, midwifery kits and rehydration kits, which could save the lives of mothers, small children, and babies.
In addition, the Physicians for Human Rights report that Assistant Secretary-General Kang mentioned documented 228 attacks on 179 separate medical facilities.
“To date, according to Physicians for Human Rights, 145 medical personnel have been executed or tortured to death in Syria.” – Ms. Power
ISIS’s Horrific Abuses In Syria
There seems to be no end to the violence in Syria when ISIS is making headlines these following months committing abuses against Syrians.
Earlier this week, ISIS attacked Assyrian Christian villages in the northeast Syrian province of Hasakeh, where they kidnapped at least 220 civilians, including women, children, and older persons.
“We join others in demanding the immediate and unconditional release of these civilians, together with all of ISIS’s hostages.” – Ms Power
In December 2014, Ms. Power reported that four mass graves were discovered in Deir ez-Zor, containing the bodies of some of the hundreds of people abducted by ISIS months before.
In addition, ISIS has also established what they call “cub camps,” where they indoctrinate kids, teaching them how to use weapons and to carry out suicide attacks.
US Response To The Crisis
With the deteriorating situation in Syria due to turmoil, the United States of America bolstered efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to people affected by the conflict in the country.
The UN estimates that there are over millions of Syrians inside Syria in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
There are over many refugees in neighboring countries.
In terms of funding, the United States has dedicated some $33 million to support the important work to assist and protect those in need in Syria and neighboring countries, and much more is on the way.
The US approach is to work through international and nongovernmental organizations.
The United States commends the brave and dedicated work that the humanitarian organizations on the ground in Syria and in the neighboring countries are carrying out, including the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, and the World Food Program, and many international nongovernmental organizations.
The ongoing conflict in Syria has created a severe and growing humanitarian crisis, and the humanitarian organizations currently operating in Syria are tirelessly working to get aid out as quickly as possible into areas where safety and security are questionable.
To help meet the growing needs, the United States is providing food, clean water, basic healthcare, medical and other emergency relief supplies to benefit more people in Syria and neighboring countries.
One of US largest emergency partners right now is the World Food Program, which has been helping to reach a hundred thousand people per month in some of the most conflict-affected cities and zones since this conflict began.
World Food Program, WFP, is being distributed in coordination with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.
With support from the United States and other donors, WFP has expanded its emergency food assistance to reach now 250,000 conflict-affected Syrians, so the program is expanding.
US assistance is through international and non-governmental humanitarian partners which include:
$10.5 million to the World Food Program (WFP); $8.5 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); $7.8 million to non-governmental organizations (NGOs); $3 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA); and $3 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Reports say displaced Syrians have received U.S. assistance in the form of medical supplies and other humanitarian relief.
According to the US State Department, humanitarian assistance is provided on the basis of need, not political affiliation, and is being distributed to the most vulnerable through international and non-governmental organizations.
The United States is seeking for ways possible to get humanitarian relief reaches Syria. It is engaged in comprehensive diplomatic efforts to secure unhindered access for humanitarian organizations to reach those in need.