Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Chumakov at UNSC briefing on the political and humanitarian situation in Syria


We thank Special Envoy Geir Pedersen and the head of OCHA, Martin Griffiths, for their reports on the current political and humanitarian situation in Syria.

With the escalation of hostilities in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict zone (that has entered its eighth month), there are still high risks that the Syrian Arab Republic may be dragged into a region-wide confrontation, particularly on the Blue Line and the Syrian Golan Heights. The strike on the Iranian Embassy building in Damascus last month, which provoked Tehran's response with an Israeli forceful backlash, was a clear confirmation of this.

It was with concern that we saw another incident on May 20, when two Israeli Air Force F-16 tactical fighters struck the southern outskirts of Homs with guided bombs from the airspace above the Mediterranean Sea. The air strike killed four Syrians, injured five others and caused material damage.

We condemn such attacks in the strongest terms. We call on West Jerusalem to refrain from forceful actions on the territory of Syria and its neighbors, which are fraught with extremely dangerous consequences for the entire region, which is already destabilized by the ongoing bloodshed in the Gaza Strip, with tensions projecting onto the West Bank and Lebanon.

Against this background, the illegal military presence of the US forces in Syria on the pretext of alleged fight against terrorism is having a destabilizing effect. In this case, Washington's double standards are clearly manifested. Our American colleagues are trying to whitewash the UNSC-listed terrorists of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham who control Idlib by condemning the authorities in Damascus and its allies for fighting them. At the same time, the United States is trying to present Israel's brutal military operation against the civilian population of Gaza (which the IDF calls fight against Hamas, the latter not being recognized by the UN as a terrorist movement) as a fight against terrorism and the exercise by West Jerusalem of its right to self-defense.

By actually occupying the territory of a UN member state, the US bears no responsibility for the civilian population under Washington's control. According to a special report of “Amnesty International”, 56 thousand people, including citizens of 74 countries, remain in the network of prisons (at least 27 facilities) and camps established by the Americans in cross-Euphrates region of Syria. Of them, 29,000 are children (most of them under the age of 12), which is the highest rate of minors held in captivity in the world. Refugees and IDPs are deprived of regular humanitarian aid, subjected to torture and other cruel forms of treatment, and all this is done with the knowledge and participation of the United States and allies who help them on the ground.


Speaking of the political track, we would like to reiterate that our delegation has consistently proceeded from the fact that there is no alternative to advancing the process of an inter-Syrian settlement in accordance with Security Council resolution 2254 under the mediation of SESG Pedersen, which should be based on respect for the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. We are convinced that the Syrians themselves, without external pressure, must reach agreement on all outstanding issues, including the selection of a new venue for the next round of the Constitutional Committee (CC) as the only platform for direct dialogue. In this context, we note the readiness of Damascus to move the CC meetings to Baghdad, and we hope that the Special Envoy will be able to worn on this option with the other Syrian side.


It is with deep regret that we must subscribe to the assessment that the humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate. There is no doubt that the extreme weather conditions in SAR are aggravating the already dire situation of the citizens. However, it is important to recognize that Syria is having 16.7 million people in need of assistance not because of the floods, but because of the devastating conflict, fueled by Western countries for political reasons, which is now in its 14th year. The massive destruction over the years of the crisis, the stifling illegal unilateral sanctions, the theft of Syrian natural resources by the occupying US forces – this is what bodies of the UN system should have been more vocal about.

We are concerned about the exorbitant level of politicization of the humanitarian file, which manifests itself, among other things, in the record low level of funding for the UN humanitarian response plan for Syria. To date, only 8 per cent of the required funds have been mobilized. It is obvious that this funding is insufficient even to cover the basic needs of Syrians, not to mention the early recovery programs that the US and its satellites are pushing off the humanitarian agenda. And the UN organizations themselves are in no hurry to get involved on a large scale. The UN Secretariat’s guideline “Parameters and principles of humanitarian assistance to Syria” is a shameful proof of that. In fact, this guide directly prohibits Un bodies on the ground from engaging in reconstruction activities.

The 8th pseudo-humanitarian conference held recently in Brussels is nothing but another manifestation of hypocrisy on the part of the collective West. These events, held without the participation of the legitimate authorities of Syria, have long and firmly turned into “gatherings of the like-minded” who, under the slogans of help and care, continue to use the humanitarian agenda for their own purposes and to undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. The organizers pay lip service to helping Syrians, but in reality all their efforts are focused only on shackling refugees in Syria's neighboring countries and preventing migrants from flowing to Europe or returning home.

On the eve of the Brussels conference, we were surprised to see OCHA issue a “reminder” to all diplomatic missions in New York and Geneva of the importance of participating in this meeting. We would like to ask what this “reminder” means? Should we take it as a sign that UN Secretariat has again decided act as an organizer of this conference? Is this call for participation also addressed to those countries that, for example, were not invited to the event? We would appreciate a clarification on that.

Back to refugees, we once again draw attention to the fact that assistance should not be directed at anchoring Syrians in host countries, but it should rather encourage them to move to their homeland. That is why international assistance programs should be concentrated in Syria itself. There are safe areas there where infrastructure needs minor improvement, and the United Nations can well afford such measures.

All the prerequisites for such work are in place. The SAR authorities, showing goodwill and responsible behavior, continue to extend permits to UN personnel for the use of crossings on the Turkish border. The authorities also consider UN requests and approve UN missions a facilitated mode. Cross-line mechanism has also been somewhat revitalized. It is now important to ensure the flow of assistance and have coordination on the ground in close cooperation with Damascus, using all available opportunities.

We are very much concerned about the promotion in the US of a new inhumane sanctions bill, the Assad Regime Anti-Normalization Act, which, if adopted, will affect the most needy citizens of Syria. In this context, a special UN report on the impact of sanctions on humanitarian activities in the Syrian Arab Republic is highly demanded. We once again recall that the drafting and issuance of such reviews, regardless of whether Western donors like or dislike them, is henceforth the direct responsibility of the UN Resident Coordinator system, as enshrined in UNGA resolution “Unilateral economic measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries”.

Thank you. 

Video of the statement


Right of reply:


I would like to answer to the direct question of the US Ambassador about Russia’s assistance to Syria. I will leave uncommented the remark about throwing stones in a glass house, and will rather focus on our today’s agenda.

Our country is actively contributing to the recovery of Syria, whose destruction was brought about by the actions of the occupying armed forces, which are illegally present on Syrian territory. Once again, I emphasize that the Russian armed forces are in the Syrian Arab Republic at the invitation of the Syrian side.

We supply humanitarian aid to the population of this long-suffering country through both bilateral and multilateral channels, provide assistance (including financial assistance) in the implementation of development programs. The Syrians are well aware of these activities, because when providing assistance it is important to take into account the priorities of the recipient.

I will give you a few examples. Thanks to the efforts that we are taking jointly with the Syrian authorities, more than 2 million Syrian citizens got back to their homes. More than 1 million and 375 thousands of them were IDPs, and 1 million – returnees from abroad. Since 2020, more than 22,000 socially significant and industrial facilities have been repaired and put in service, more than 4,100 facilities are under reconstruction at the moment.

In order to support Syrian agriculture, 11 cooperative farms have been established in Aleppo, Latakia, Tartus, Daraa, and Suwayda. Easy-term loan services have been launched, and in Deir ez-Zor an irrigation facility was put in service that made it possible to recreate approximately 7,500 hectares of farmland.

Besides, 921 residential facilities are in the final stage of construction in Damascus, Deir ez-Zor, and Homs.

Apart from that, we are making efforts to preserve Syria’s cultural and historical legacy. I am referring to the cooperation of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Center for Rescue Archaeology and the Syrian Department of Antiquities and Museums. 

In conclusion, we support the efforts of the legitimate Syrian authorities (unfortunately, some delegations unjustifiably call them a regime) to create conditions for peaceful life in the country, rather than supporting the terrorists, whose attacks continue to kill civilians.

Thank you.

Video of the statement