Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on the political situation in Syria
We thank G.Pedersen for the briefing. We also closely followed the remarks by Ms. Rouba Mhaissen.
At the political track, we welcome the emerging progress with resumption of the work of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva. We always advocate for this during our contacts with the sides and the main stakeholders. We count on soonest re-launch of direct inter-Syrian dialogue in Geneva. It is vital that this process should remain Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, proceed without imposing any deliberate deadlines and under neutral mediation of the United Nations. Recent experience proved that furnishing the continuation of talks with far-fetched requirements was a wrong thing to do.
The situation on the ground in Syria remains complicated. However at the beginning of September the Syrian Army, supported by Russian military experts, was able to settle peacefully the situation in Daraa province, in particular around the Daraa al-Balad suburb, which had seen some grave escalation since the end of May 2021. Confrontation is declining based on the provisions of a roadmap that envisages i.a. regulation of the legal status of the reconciled militants, transfer of “irreconcilable” militants to Al-Bab (northern Syria), surrender of arms, and deployment of governmental forces and Russian military police in the besieged area.
Terrorists in Idlib are trying to avail of the instability in the south. Over the past month, there were 760 bombardments of governmental positions, which wounded several dozen Syrian servicemen. The situation also deteriorates in the area of Turkish operations in the north of Syria, as well as in cross-Euphrates region, where clashes between Kurds and pro-Turkish formations and Arab tribes are continuing.
We condemn unceasing air attacks of Israel against the Syrian territory which undermine stabilization efforts in Syria and the region at large.
We proceed from the understanding that Syria may enjoy lasting peace and stability only once it has fully restored its sovereignty and territorial integrity; once illegal foreign presence has withdrawn from its territory; and once terrorists have been permanently defeated.
The humanitarian situation in the country remains dire. We strongly assert that politicization of the Syrian humanitarian file must stop. There is a need to ensure that humanitarian assistance is provided to all Syrians under the leading role of the United Nations and in accordance with the basic principles set out in UNGA resolution 46/182.
Against this backdrop, the issue of relieving Western anti-Syrian sanctions remains very urgent. All international experts are united in the understanding that sanctions only aggravate the sufferings of Syrians.
According to the UN data, the situation of most Syrians keeps deteriorating. 90 % of the country’s population live below the poverty line. Those Syrians encounter both economic difficulties (inflation and food shortages in the first place) and the dangerous consequences of the water crisis that poses a threat to 5 million people. Therefore it becomes particularly important that everyone must fully and faithfully comply with UNSC resolution 2585 that extends domestic humanitarian deliveries to Idlib and northern Syria, envisages greater transparency of cross-border deliveries, proposes projects for early recovery and enhanced support for Syrians against the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic. This resolution provides a qualitatively new basis for humanitarian assistance. However, time is running out. We need tangible progress on the ground that should be reflected in UNSG report due in January 2022.