UN chief denounces attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in Syria's Aleppo

20 November 2016

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as well as senior humanitarian officials have condemned attacks that have killed and maimed scores of civilians in Syria, including children, and called on all parties to cease such attacks as well as to ensure unhindered humanitarian access to the people in need.

In a statement issued by his office today, Mr. Ban condemned the reported intense air assault over the last several days in eastern Aleppo city as well as indiscriminate shelling reported in areas of Aleppo governorate and the western parts of Aleppo city. Hospitals have been rendered nonfunctional and schools have been stuck in the attacks.

“The Secretary-General reminded all parties to the conflict that targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure is a war crime [and] called on all sides to immediately cease any such attacks,” read the statement, adding:

“Those responsible for these and other atrocities in Syria, whoever and wherever they are, must one day be brought to account.”

Sustained, unconditional and unimpeded humanitarian access urgently needed

Furthermore, in a statement yesterday, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, Ali Al-Za'tari, and the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, Kevin Kennedy, underlined that the UN stands ready to assist civilians in the war-torn country, as soon as access is granted by all parties.

“[We have] shared with all parties to the conflict in Aleppo and Member States [of the UN] concerned, a detailed humanitarian plan to provide urgently needed assistance to the inhabitants of eastern Aleppo, and conduct medical evacuations for the ill and injured” said both Mr. Al-Za'tari and Mr. Kennedy.

“It is imperative [that] all parties agree to the plan and allow us to secure immediate, safe and unimpeded access to provide relief to those most in need in eastern Aleppo, but equally in all other parts of Syria where there are people in need,” they asserted.

Syrian civilians on all sides of the divide are at the receiving end of the escalating violence

“Syrian civilians on all sides of the divide are at the receiving end of the escalating violence,” read the statement.

Moreover, the besiegement of eastern Aleppo and the strong grip of non-state armed groups in that part of the city has resulted in a dire and urgent need of protection and humanitarian assistance, it added.

Highlighting that international humanitarian and human rights laws obligate all parties to the conflict to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure from the effects of hostilities, the senior UN humanitarian officials called on them to ensure unconditional, unimpeded and sustained access to the millions of people in need, particularly those in besieged and hard-to-reach areas across Syria.


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