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UN humanitarian chief briefs Security Council on Syria

29 Mar 2021

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Displaced families live in a damaged school in the town of Binish, Idleb Governorate, Syria (2020). © OCHA

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock today briefed the Security Council on Syria, warning that the already deep economic decline from a decade of war has deepened further over the last year, not least as a result of the pandemic.

Mr. Lowcock called for urgent action on three points: protection of civilians; humanitarian access including cross-border and cross-line operations; and the assistance that humanitarian organizations are providing across Syria.

“Now is not the moment to reduce humanitarian aid to Syria. We need more money, not less, if we are to avoid a further deterioration – the consequences of which could be dramatic and widespread,” the UN humanitarian chief said. 

Mr. Lowcock expressed his concern about increasing insecurity at the Al Hol camp. A major security operation began in the camp yesterday with the stated intention of restoring security. The exercise has forced the suspension of many humanitarian services. Residents, including children, are being screened and their tents are being searched.

Mr. Lowcock emphasized that security must be provided in a manner that does not endanger residents or violate their rights, and that does not restrict humanitarian access. There are almost 40,000 foreign and Syrian children at Al Hol.

USG Lowcock said that humanitarian organizations are seeking more than US$4.2 billion for the response inside Syria at the fifth Brussels conference in support of Syria and the region tomorrow. That is to reach 12.3 million people in need. Another $5.8 billion is required for support to countries hosting Syrian refugees in the region.

Mr. Lowcock’s full remarks are available online.