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Implementation of Security Council resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2191 (2014) and 2258 (2015) - Report of the Secretary-General (S/2016/272) [EN/AR]

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I. Introduction

  1. The present report is the twenty-fifth is submitted pursuant to paragraph 17 of Security Council resolution 2139 (2014), paragraph 10 of Security Council resolution 2165 (2014), paragraph 5 of Security Council resolution 2191 (2014) and paragraph 5 of Security Council resolution 2258 (2015), in which the Council requested the Secretary-General to report, every 30 days, on the implementation of the resolutions by all parties to the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic.

  2. The information contained herein is based on the data available to United Nations agencies on the ground, from the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, other Syrian sources as well as open sources. Data from United Nations agencies on their humanitarian deliveries have been reported for the period from 1 to 29 February 2016. More recent data have been included when available.

II. Major developments

A. Developments on the ground

3 . The statement adopted by the International Syria Support Group on 11 February 2016 in Munich and the adoption of resolution 2268 (2016) by the Security Council on 26 February 2016, which outlined the terms of the cessation of hostilities, resulted in some positive changes on the ground during the latter part of the reporting period. Since 26 February, the establishment by the International Syria Support Group of the task force on humanitarian access, on 12 February, has underpinned a greater focus on access and reaching people in need. The United Nations has delivered assistance to 150,000 people in 10 of the 18 besieged areas, through the efforts of United Nations inter-agency convoys, plus tens of thousands more in hard-to-reach areas. The cessation of hostilities, which started on 27 February, has held by and large. Various sources have reported that the number of military activities and air strikes has decreased significantly. The Support Group task force on the ceasefire continues to monitor the situation and take steps to sustain the cessation of hostilities. The United Nations operations centre, established in support of the task force on the ceasefire, has received reports of a broad range of incidents of non-compliance, from air strikes and ground offensives to sporadic gunfire and exchange of mortars in isolated areas.

4 . In February, prior to the cessation of hostilities, widespread conflict and high levels of violence continued throughout the Syrian Arab Republic. Indiscriminate and disproportionate aerial bombings and ground attacks by Government forces, supported by their allies, and indiscriminate shelling by non-State armed opposition groups and designated terrorist groups1 continued to kill, injure and displace civilians. The conduct of hostilities by all parties was characterized by a widespread disregard for the rules of international humanitarian law and the obligation of all parties to protect civilians. The United Nations and partners received reports that over 177,000 people were displaced across seven governorates in February.

5 . The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) documented attacks by all parties to the conflict, as well as unattributed attacks that resulted in the killing of more than 470 civilians and injuring of hundreds more during the reporting period.2 These included air strikes and shelling with the use of artillery, barrel bombs, mortars and rockets, as well as car and suicide bombings in populated areas. Private property, civilian infrastructure and protected structures, such as schools and hospitals, also continued to be damaged and destroyed.

6 . Fighting continued throughout Aleppo governorate until the cessation of hostilities went into effect. Government of Syria ground offensives in northern Aleppo, backed by heavy aerial support by Syrian and Russian Federation air assets, reportedly resulted in many civilian deaths in February, according to open sources. In addition, over 63,000 people were displaced from eastern Aleppo city and northern rural areas of the city, mostly to areas close to the border with Turkey. Civilian infrastructure was also severely damaged. According to information received by OHCHR, on 1 and 2 February, air strikes hit two clinics in Anadan, rendering them out of service and killing eight civilians. On 15 February, air strikes allegedly hit two schools in Atareb and Azaz, reportedly killing 15 people and injuring many students, according to open sources. Meanwhile, Syrian Democratic Forces also launched advances against non-State armed opposition groups in northern Aleppo governorate. In southern Aleppo governorate, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) temporarily seized the strategic town of Khanaser from Government forces for several days; as a result, the main supply road was cut from Homs into Aleppo province from 19 to 29 February.