News / Middle East

UN Seeks Action on Syrian Humanitarian Crisis

Syrian refugees collect water at Al Zaatri refugee camp near the border with Syria, in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, Sept, 26, 2013.
Syrian refugees collect water at Al Zaatri refugee camp near the border with Syria, in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, Sept, 26, 2013.
Margaret Besheer
Having broken its stalemate on Syria with a resolution governing the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles, the U.N. Security Council is now working on improving humanitarian access in that war-torn country.  

Security Council members Australia and Luxembourg have been working for several weeks on a text concerning humanitarian issues in Syria. Australian Ambassador Gary Quinlan, who was Council president for the month of September, said language was circulated to members on Saturday, and they hope to agree on a presidential statement by Wednesday or Thursday of this week.

“So our ambition quickly now, because we don’t want to lose the momentum and good spirit generated from last Friday, is to get agreement on something which sends a strong, unified message," said Quinlan.

On Friday night, the Council finally overcame more than two years of deadlock on Syria and unanimously agreed to a resolution demanding that the Syrian government complete the elimination of its chemical weapons arsenal by the middle of next year.

On the humanitarian effort, the statement under negotiation seeks to urge Syrian authorities to expedite safe and unhindered access to people in need, including across conflict lines and, when necessary, across borders from neighboring countries.

The Syrian government has only authorized 12 international aid groups to work inside the country. The U.N. says entire suburbs and towns have been deliberately overwhelmed or cut off by fighting. Dozens of checkpoints block main roads between towns and cities, impeding aid delivery to millions in urgent need.

Also Monday, Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Walid Mouallem, spoke at the U.N. General Assembly annual debate. He blamed activities of armed groups in border areas and sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union for worsening living conditions.

He urged all displaced Syrians to return home, saying the government will protect and assist them.

“I would like to assure our readiness to exert all efforts to deliver aid from international organizations to all Syrian citizens without any discrimination wherever they are," said Mouallem.

Mouallem said the situation in the country is the fault of outside terrorist groups and the Arab and Western countries that support them. He said the situation in Syria is not a civil war, but a war on terror.

He added that Syria will abide by its commitments to the Convention on Chemical Weapons, which it recently joined, and will cooperate with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which will be overseeing implementation of the declaration and eventual destruction of Syria’s chemical stockpiles.

The U.N. says an advance chemical weapons team will arrive in Syria Tuesday to begin the inspection process.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid