UN aid chief urges Security Council action to halt violence in Syria's Eastern Ghouta

UN aid chief urges Security Council action to halt violence in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta


New York United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock on Thursday called for action by the Security Council to halt the appalling destruction of Syria's Eastern Ghouta, where nearly 300 people have reportedly been killed in just the past few days, as bombs and mortars have rained down on bakeries and medical facilities.

What we need is a sustained cessation of hostilities and we need it desperately, Lowcock told the 15-member body via video conference, adding: Millions of battered and beleaguered children, women and men depend on meaningful action by this Council.

He said counter-terrorism efforts cannot supersede the obligation to respect and protect civilians. They do not justify the killing of civilians and the destruction of entire cities and neighborhoods.

Reading out to the Council excerpts of thousands of text messages and social media posts received over the past three days by the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Syria in Geneva, from civilians in Eastern Ghouta pleading for help, Lowcock said one aid worker had lamented:

Most air raids have intentionally targeted civilian residential buildings. Whole families have died under the rubble. Today, as the battles intensify I call on you [] to act to stop the systematic operations against civilians and open the roads for humanitarian assistance.

The UN humanitarian chief updated the members that over the past 24 hours, heavy shelling and aerial bombardment on multiple communities in Eastern Ghouta continued, killing at least 50 and wounding some 200 people adding that according to some sources, the death toll since 19 February is close to 300 people.

Lowcock noted that half of Syria's population has either fled the country or faced repeated internal displacement. Eastern Ghouta is a living example of an entirely known, predictable and preventable humanitarian disaster unfolding before our eyes, he said, enumerating that nearly 400,000 people have been besieged for more than four years, thousands upon thousands of children face acute malnutrition and 700 people are in need of urgent medical evacuation to hospitals � just miles away from Damascus.

Highlighting that as the appalling violence ensues, accessing people in hard-to-reach and besieged areas remain elusive, the UN relief urged the Council members to save lives of civilians in Eastern Ghouta and elsewhere in Syria.

Source: International Islamic News Agency


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