Monday, June 8, 2015

UN Security Council Condemns High Level of Violence in Syria

Amid surging violence in Aleppo, the United Nations Security Council has expressed “outrage” at all attacks against civilians in Syria, as well as indiscriminate attacks. “The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern at the continued high level of violence in Syria and condemned all violence directed against civilians and civilian infrastructure, including medical facilities,” according to a press statement.

John Ging, Operations Director of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), briefed Council members about the recent upsurge of violence in Aleppo and other areas in the country, where “shelling and aerial bombardment, such as the use of barrel bombs, have reportedly been used extensively in recent days, leaving many dead and injured civilians, including children.”

On May 31, at least 70 civilians were killed in Syria’s northern Aleppo province by barrel bombs dropped from government helicopters.

The Council’s statement recalled that all obligations under international humanitarian law must be respected in all circumstances by all parties, in particular “the obligation to distinguish between civilian populations and combatants, and the prohibition against indiscriminate attacks, and attacks against civilians and civilian objects.”

While reaffirming that the Syrian authorities have the primary responsibility to protect the population of the country, the Council reiterated that all parties must take all “feasible steps” to ensure the protection of civilians.

Members condemned increased terrorist attacks carried out by ISIL, Al-Nusra Front and other entities associated with Al-Qaida, and called on all parties to commit to “putting an end” to these acts.

In this context, they reminded that Member States must ensure that any measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law.

“The only sustainable solution to the current crisis in Syria is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process, with a view to full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012,” Security Council members reiterated in their statement.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

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