NOTE TO CORRESPONDENTS
I have just had an opportunity to brief the Security Council on the situation in Syria and, in particular, to give an update on the operationalization of the Presidential Statement, which was passed on 2 October.
I was able to advise the Council that we have seen some modest progress in terms of the administrative procedures, which had been put in place over time. For example, the Government of Syria have indicated that over 50 visas will now be granted. Those are going to be granted on an individual basis, so we are seeing those being cleared as we speak.
They have given us permission to open three additional hubs inside Syria, but only two of them will actually be helpful to us, because the third that is being proposed - Al Sweida - will not allow us access into Western Dera'a, which is where the hard-to reach communities are.
The Government and the opposition have both indicated who will be appointed as interlocutors for us to talk to, to try to facilitate humanitarian access.
However, I did remind the Council that on some of the more difficult areas - protection of civilians, demilitarization of schools and hospitals, access to besieged communities and also cross-line access to hard-to-reach areas - we have not seen any progress on those.
I need the Council to continue to make it absolutely clear that the targeting of civilians is against international humanitarian law and that we need to continue to do greater work to ensure that the recommendations in the Presidential Statement are achieved.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.