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Damascus, 16 August 2012
I have been in Syria since Tuesday to see for myself the impact of the intensifying conflict and to discuss ways to increase humanitarian assistance.
The violence has become more intense and is too often indiscriminate. All parties must do more to protect civilians. The humanitarian situation has worsened since I was here in March.
Further to the request in Security Council resolution 2059 (2012), paragraph 4, I wish to update the Council on the implementation of the resolution and the situation in Syria since the 2 August 2012 briefing by Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations. I also wish to set forth in the present letter my observations on the future work of the United Nations in Syria.
More than 100 Wounded in Attack on Azaz, Near Turkish Border
(Azaz) – A Syrian government fighter jet bombed a residential neighborhood, killing more than 40 civilians and wounding at least 100 others in the town of Azaz, including many women and children, Human Rights Watch said today after visiting the town. In the attack on August 15, 2012, at least two bombs destroyed an entire block of houses in the al-Hara al-Kablie neighborhood of Azaz, in Syria’s northern Aleppo province.
Syrian Government forces and anti-Government groups responsible for war crimes: UN Commission of Inquiry
Geneva -- The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on Syria today released its latest report on the human rights situation in Syria in which it concludes that Government forces and Shabbiha fighters had committed the crimes against humanity of murder and torture, war crimes and gross violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including unlawful killing, indiscriminate attacks against civilian populations and acts of sexual violence.
16 August 2012 – As fighting rages on in Syria, conditions had not been met to continue the mission of the United Nations observer force there, a top official of the world body said today, but Security Council members, meeting on the situation this morning, have agreed to the creation of a liaison office to support efforts for a political solution to the conflict and respect for human rights.
It was reported by the local authorities that due to the escalating sitution in Azaz and Aleppo, approximately 5,000 new arrivals crossed the border in the last 24 hours. While the official figures still shows 61,450 the authoritoes in Kilis informed that with the new arrivals of the last two days (approx: 8,500) the population of Syrians in Turkey reached close to 70,000 people.
Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers are risking their own lives to provide a lifeline for anyone in Syria caught up in the conflict. These volunteers are ordinary Syrians giving up their time, sometimes their jobs, for no pay, to help others.
Five volunteers or staff have already been killed, and several ambulances have been shot at or stolen.
So why do they do it?
The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are the only major agencies able to work across frontlines in Syria.
In a meeting with UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos in Syria, WHO’s Head of Agency stressed the need for additional funding in order to implement life-saving projects in the country. A priority list of medicines and supplies is being prepared by WHO with input from Ministry of Health, Ministry of Higher Education (responsible for hospitals) and other key stakeholders, and will be shared with donors.
• Continued fighting, particularly in and around Aleppo, led to a sharp increase in registered refugee flows into Turkey and Iraq, as well as Internally Displaced Persons within Syria.
• Out of the 17,000 schools in Syria, the Ministry of Education estimates that 2,000 schools have been affected by violence, looted or destroyed. The Syrian Ministry of Education announced that the new school year will commence on 16 September. As of this week, there are around 470 schools hosting IDPs in Syria.
5 tent cities in Hatay, 2 tent cities in Şanlıurfa, a tent city in Gaziantep and a container city in Kilis, has a capacity to shelter 12.000 people, have been established by our Presidency.
In response to displacement lived due to the interior conflicts in Syria, camps have been established in 4 cities and all kind of humanitarian relief for more than 90.000 Syrian Citizens have been supplied by Prime Ministry AFAD until today.
AMMAN / ZA'ATARI – German Development Minister Dirk Niebel today arrived for a one-day visit to Jordan. He will visit Za'atari refugee camp near the Syrian border and meet with Jordanian Water Minister Mohammad al-Najjar. There are now as many as 150,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan.
(Aleppo, August 15, 2012) – Syrian government fighter planes fired rockets that struck the main emergency hospital in an opposition-controlled area of Aleppo on August 14, 2012, wounding two civilians and causing significant damage, Human Rights Watch said today after visiting the damaged hospital.
A rocket attack by government aircraft on the hospital two days earlier, on August 12, apparently killed four civilians and wounded three, Human Rights Watch said.
(Damascus/New York, 14 August 2012): The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, arrived in Damascus today at the start of a three day visit to Syria and Lebanon, to see for herself the impact of the intensifying conflict and to discuss ways to increase humanitarian assistance.
Future Presence Should Include Rights Experts, Visit Prisons, Report Publicly
(New York, August 14, 2012) – The United Nations Security Council and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should ensure the continuation of human rights monitoring in Syria after the expiration of the current mandate, Human Rights Watch said today. The mandate of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) is set to end on August 19, 2012, and Security Council members will meet on August 16 to discuss the future of the UN presence in the country.
As the crisis in Syria continues to intensify, the humanitarian needs—both in Syria and in surrounding countries—are increasing significantly. Many people have been killed and wounded and tens of thousands have fled their homes, leaving behind everything they own. Medical and humanitarian assistance within Syria is extremely limited, and aid from international organizations, including Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), has been severely restricted.
New dynamics in the Arab world present opportunities for Hamas and the West to redefine their relationship, but it will take a far greater display of pragmatism and realism than either has exhibited.
AmeriCares is rushing a delivery of emergency medical aid for families fleeing the violence in Syria. An air shipment containing antibiotics, wound care supplies, pain relievers and other critically needed medical aid is expected to arrive in Jordan this week where it will be delivered to a partner organization providing medical care for 30,000 Syrian refugees who have fled for safety. The shipment also contains medicines for refugees who have diabetes, respiratory problems and other chronic health conditions.
BERLIN, 14 August 2012 (IRIN) - When mortar shells slammed into Yarmouk, Syria’s largest Palestinian camp, in early August, killing at least 20 people, many Palestinians in Syria saw it as a wake-up call.
“It was the third time Yarmouk was attacked, but the casualty number has never been so high,” said a Palestinian activist who gave his name as Moh Abu Eyad. “The problem is that Yarmouk is so crowded. If you fire one bullet, you’ll hit three people.”
With hundreds of people fleeing Syria daily to surrounding countries, UNHCR is scaling up its capacity for registering Syrian refugees. Registration is important because without it people may have difficulties in access to basic help and services.
In Tripoli, north Lebanon, on Monday we opened a new registration facility at the Rachid Karame International Exhibition Centre. This will allow processing of up to 700 people per day. Currently, northern Lebanon has around 20,000 registered refugees. Thousands more are waiting to be registered even as new people arrive.