‘Stop draining the blood of Syrians’ – UN relief chief’s appeal to the Security Council

26 October 2016

In another impassioned plea to the United Nations Security Council urging action to stop the bloodshed in war-ravaged Syria, the top UN humanitarian official stressed that since his last briefing to the body (on 29 September), 400 more Syrians had been killed and close to 2,000 injured in eastern Aleppo.

“These are people just like you and me – not sitting around a table in New York but forced into desperate, pitiless suffering, their future wiped out […] peoples’ lives destroyed and Syria itself destroyed,” the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, told the 15-member body today.

Mr. O’Brien further called on the members of the primary UN organ for maintenance of international peace and security to “[do] the right thing to stop the draining of the blood of Syrians.”

Reiterating the humanitarian catastrophe in eastern Aleppo, which is besieged by the Syrian Government, has had no UN assistance in nearly four months and faces regular bombing by Syrian and Russian forces, he stressed that the tactics employed on the city are as obvious as they are unconscionable: “Make life intolerable; make death likely. Push people from starvation to despair to surrender. Push people to leave on green buses.”

Further illustrating the terror that the civilians in the city face, the UN official pointed to leaflets, dropped from Syrian and Russian aircrafts, that read – “This is your last hope […] Save yourselves. If you do not leave these areas urgently, you will be annihilated.”

“And it is clear that the aircraft which drop the bombs, the generals who give the orders and the politicians who have designed the strategy intend to make good on that horrific promise,” he added.

Also in his is briefing, Mr. O’Brien, also the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs told the Council that on 30 September, the UN Secretary-General established an internal and independent Board of Inquiry to look into the attack targeting a UN-Syrian Arab Red Crescent relief operation to on 19 September.He added that restrictions by the parties to the conflict continue to prevent effective aid delivery. Notably eastern Aleppo and parts of rural Damascus where the locations where access was denied.

Further reporting that removal of life-saving medicines and medical supplies, such as surgical kits, midwifery kits, and emergency kits, by Syrian authorities continued unabated, the UN humanitarian chief stressed that such restrictions were not only violations of international law and Security Council resolutions, they were also deliberately and cynically designed to inflict suffering on civilians living in besieged and hard-to-reach locations.

Also in his briefing, Mr. O’Brien informed the council of the plight of the children – nearly eight million of whom have lost their parents, their homes, their schools – who have suffered immense emotional and physical traumas.

Urging the Security Council to take action to put a halt to the violence, he said: “It is within your power to do it. If you don’t take action, there will be no Syrian peoples or Syria to save – that will be this Council’s legacy, our generation’s shame.”

“It is in your hands today to take the right path, and avert this looming irreversible tragedy of our time,” he concluded.


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