Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on the political and humanitarian situation in Syria


We thank Mr.Pedersen and Ms.Msuya for their assessments of the military, political, and humanitarian situation in Syria.

In addition to what we heard, it is clear to us that Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip have the most negative impact on the situation in our friendly Syria. The effect of the dramatic increase in tension on the Syrian-Israeli border is exacerbated by active external interference combined with the continued illegal foreign presence in the north and north-east of the Syrian Arab Republic. In these circumstances, we are particularly concerned about the intensification of strikes (including from the Blue Line) by the Israeli Air Force against civilian targets in Syria. Such irresponsible actions threaten to drag both Syria and a number of its neighbors into a full-scale regional confrontation.

We strongly condemn such attacks against the territory of SAR. We regard them as a flagrant violation of Syrian sovereignty and the basic norms of international law. We also note that Israeli raids have serious negative consequences for the timely humanitarian response of United Nations agencies. In these circumstances, the silence of our Western colleagues appears duplicitous, for they cannot fail to understand the risks directly arising from what is happening.


This September will mark the 10th anniversary of the illegal US military presence in Syria, which has started under the pretext of fighting terrorism. In reality, the US is plundering Syrian mineral resources and plays an extremely destabilizing role. At the same time, our American colleagues have actually stopped fighting against ISIL in SAR and have long been using the militants they have raised exclusively for their own needs, including acts of sabotage against the Syrian governmental forces. The US and its European allies try to "whitewash" the UNSC-listed terrorists of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), who control Idlib and oppose the legitimate Syrian Government in Damascus.

The hypocrisy of Washington and its satellites is particularly evident in the situation with humanitarian access in Syria. We constantly hear about the importance and alleged effectiveness of the United Nations’ cross-border humanitarian deliveries to Syria's northwestern regions. Besides, the UN has sent 75 assessment and monitoring missions to the region from Turkey. However, neither Damascus nor the members of the Security Council know anything about the real aims and objectives of these trips. Repeated appeals to that effect by the Syrian authorities remain unanswered. This leads to only one conclusion: the UN Secretariat puts cooperation with HTS terrorists above the cooperation with the legitimate authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic. To say nothing about Western delegations on the Security Council, who are ready to forgive their subordinates in Idlib anything. In this sense, it seems logical that despite all the assurances given to us, not a single cross-line convoy has been launched to Idlib from government-controlled territory since June 24, 2023.


This attitude towards ordinary Syrians triggers steady degradation of the humanitarian situation in Syria. Among the main factors (in addition to those we have already listed today), we can name the suffocating sanctions pressure on the part of Western countries. One must be blind to not notice that. We once again draw the attention of the Resident Coordinator in Syria and UN OCHA, as an important element of the country team, to the unacceptable delay with issuance of the report on the impact of sanctions, which has been promised for more than a year now. We hope that work on it is in its final stages, and we would like to hear today about the timing of its publication from the UN Secretariat. The consequences of unilateral coercive measures are not limited to the economy. On Monday, March 25, Russia will convene an informal Arria meeting of the Security Council on the impact of UCMs on the ability of states to combat terrorism, and we invite all members of the Security Council and other interested countries to participate.

It is tragic to realize that the issue of Syria's early recovery has virtually disappeared from the Security Council's attention. Western countries, who are fully responsible for the destruction of the civilian infrastructure of SAR, have washed their hands off the issue, while shackling Syrians in sanctions.

Against this backdrop, donor support has fallen to a record low. The 2023 UN humanitarian plan for Syria was funded by less than 40%. We all remember very well that as early as last summer, the UN World Food Program was forced to halve its coverage of those in need due to a lack of funds. This means not only negative consequences for ordinary Syrians, but also serious problems for humanitarian mechanisms, which have to maneuver between the growing needs on the ground and the ability to provide Syrians with at least some assistance.

Against the background of the general lack of funding and the security situation in the IDP camps, the situation of the residents of Al Hawl and Al Roj camps becomes increasingly tragic. We call on the countries whose citizens are still there to show political will and return their people to their homeland. On the instructions of the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, we, for our part, pay close attention to this issue.

On March 10, with the assistance of Ms.Maria Lvova-Belova, Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights, another group of Russian children aged 5 to 17 who had been staying in refugee camps in cross-Euphrates area returned to their homeland. That was preceded by lengthy work: searching for minors, establishing kinship, coordinating and issuing documents, and exchanging data.

The humanitarian mission to repatriate Russian children from the Middle East region has been underway under the coordination of the Presidential Commissioner since 2018, over which time we have repatriated 546 children, including from Syria.


In conclusion, a few words regarding the political track. We have consistently and unwaveringly supported the reconvening of the Constitutional Committee (CC) as part of the advancement of Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process with the assistance of the UN in strict compliance with Security Council resolution 2254. Unfortunately, the reconvening of the Committee as the main platform for direct inter-Syrian dialogue has encountered difficulties in selecting a venue acceptable to the Syrians themselves. We are convinced that it is, to put it mildly, short-sighted and counterproductive to announce the next meetings of the Committee without first agreeing on the venue with the Syrians. All the more so when it is about Geneva, which has unfortunately lost its neutral status.

In that regard, we hope that the Special Envoy will be able to find an option acceptable to the Syrian parties.

Thank you.

Video of the statement