Statement attributable to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Mr. Geir O. Pedersen on the anniversary of the Syrian conflict

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At today’s International Syria Support Group’s (ISSG) Humanitarian Task Force meeting, convened virtually in Geneva, the UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen expressed his growing concern regarding developments in southern Syria.

Increased hostilities, which have included heavy shelling and intensified ground clashes, have resulted in civilian casualties, as well as damage to civilian infrastructures. Thousands of civilians have been forced to flee Daraa al-Balad. Civilians are suffering with acute shortages of fuel, cooking gas, water, and bread. Medical assistance is in short supply to treat the injured. The situation is alarming.

The Special Envoy reiterated his calls in his 31 July statement for an immediate end to the violence and for all parties to uphold the principle of the protection of civilians and civilian objects, in accordance with international humanitarian law. He also stressed that immediate, safe and unimpeded humanitarian access must be granted to all affected areas and communities, including Daraa al-Balad, and that the near siege-like situation must end.

The Special Envoy and his team continue to engage with all relevant parties on the ground and internationally to end the crisis, warning that there is the potential for increased confrontations and further deterioration unless there is an immediate calm and a political way forward. The Special Envoy also continues to hear from people in Daraa, including civil society representatives on the ground, who have expressed grave fears for their safety.

Tensions continue elsewhere, with a notable escalation of violence in northwest Syria; and multiple water security challenges persisting in the northeast.

These coupled with the increasingly precarious situation in the southwest once again are illustrative of the need for a nationwide ceasefire and a comprehensive political solution in line with Security Council resolution 2254 (2015).

The Special Envoy further recalls the importance of the recent passage of Security Council resolution 2585 (2021) and urges all concerned to focus on its full implementation.