|Syrian civil defence (White Helmets) and Turkish-backed Syrian forces members search for victims in the aftermath of a car bomb explosion near a security checkpoint in the town of Azaz, in the north of Aleppo province near the border with Turkey, in March. (Photo: AFP)
It is necessary to promote a comprehensive, long-term political solution and ensure a stable security environment for talks, Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, head of the Vietnamese Permanent Mission to the UN told the UN Security Council (UNSC)’s video teleconference on Syria on July 23, which is held monthly to discuss the political process, humanitarian situation and chemical weapons in the country.
Quy expressed his concern over the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn on livelihoods of millions of Syrians, saying the international community should increase humanitarian assistance to Syria and help it enhance resilience to the coronavirus outbreak.
Syria’s brutal conflict enters its tenth year. The war, which triggered the worst humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st century, has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and displaced millions internally and abroad.
Addressing the event, UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen said the UNSC has firmed up plans to convene the third session of the Syrian-led and Syrian-owned Constitutional Committee in Geneva on August 24, provided that travel conditions do not change.
“I hope that the Syrian parties can count on the support of key international players with influence, in ensuring the success of the upcoming session,” he said. “Guided by (UNSC) resolution 2254 and with the support of the key international players and this council, I hope that, step by step, we can chart a path forwards to end the Syrian people’s suffering and allow them to shape their future.”
Pedersen also voiced his concern over a rise in Syria’s reported cases of COVID-19, exacerbating economic malaise and further constraining the humanitarian response in the war-wracked country.
Syria has confirmed 561 cases, a relatively low figure, but the geographical spread of the virus is increasing, penetrating more areas, particularly in the northwest and northeast, he noted.
He re-echoed the UN Secretary General’s appeal for the waiver of sanctions that can undermine Syria’s capacity to ensure access to food, essential health supplies and COVID-19 medical support to respond to the pandemic.