As the Syria crisis enters its eighth year, civilians continue to bear the brunt of a conflict marked by unparalleled suffering, destruction and disregard for human life. 13.1 million people require humanitarian assistance, including close to 3 million people in need trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas, where they are exposed to grave protection threats.
Over half of the population has been forced from their homes, and many people have been displaced multiple times. Children and youth comprise more than half of the displaced, as well as half of those in need of humanitarian assistance. Parties to the conflict act with impunity, committing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.
Among conflict-affected communities, life-threatening needs continue to grow. Neighbouring countries have restricted the admission of people fleeing Syria, leaving hundreds of thousands of people stranded in deplorable conditions on their borders. In some cases, these populations are beyond the reach of humanitarian actors.
Despite enormous challenges, the UN and its humanitarian partners continue to deliver lifesaving assistance and support to millions of people across the country every month. Over the course of 2016, over 4 million non-food items were distributed across Syria, nutrition items were provided to some 3 million, and shelter was provided to nearly 300,000 people. Since cross-border operations began in July 2014, following the adoption of UNSCR 2165 (2014), the UN has conducted more than 467 cross-border convoys, or nearly four a week on average. This allowed UN partners to deliver medical supplies sufficient for 9 million treatments, including for two million people to be vaccinated. In addition, the UN has completed 294 airlifts to Qamishly, delivering 10,000 metric tons of food, WASH, nutrition, education, shelter and NFI assistance on behalf of humanitarian actors, including 120,000 full food rations.
In the absence of a political solution to the conflict, intense and widespread hostilities persist. After more than seven years of senseless and brutal conflict, the outrage at what is occurring in Syria and what is being perpetrated against the Syrian people must be maintained. Now is the time for advocacy and now is the time for the various parties to come together and bring an end to the conflict in Syria.