The Responsibility of the United Nations for the siege of civilians in Syria
SNHR issued a research of “the responsibility of the United Nations for the siege of civilians in Syria” which documented the death of 818 individuals due to the siege in all areas by the Syrian regime and ISIS.
The report methodology depended on the accumulated data since 2011 until now as a result of daily observation from SNHR team for the displacement caused by the bombardment and destruction, and through the network of relationships with local communities, medical and media cadres, and the possession of the lists of the victims’ names, photos, and details of the deaths, the names of witnesses and whereabouts. Moreover, SNHR have encountered difficulties that increases every year such as turning off the electricity and telecommunications, threat to security, difficulty of transportation, and the cases of frustration prevailing in the Syrian society.
The report described the siege in Syrian from the definition of the International Humanitarian Law, where the region is considered besieged when the military forces close the crossings, and prevent the accessibility of civilians, the sick people, the food, and medicine
Fadel Abd Al Ghani, director of SNHR stated:
“The siege has led, in addition to the continuous starvation, bombardment, massacres, and the stoppage of the economical as well as the social life, to the displacement of most of the people in the besieged areas and a number of them paid large amounts of money to smugglers in return for getting out of the “hell”, and this resulted in a change in the structure of these societies continuously, and make it cash free, which leads to the spread of chaos in order to stay Alive; these are some of the objectives of the siege by the Syrian regime, and some of them were implemented up on a sectarian background”.
The report pointed out the consequences of the siege including a murder as the greatest violations among all. Thus, Syrian regime has applied the siege policy systematically, thoughtfully, and for a long-term, depriving the people of entire communities from food and medicine, which caused a serious threat to all those who has chronic diseases. Also, pregnant women suffer the early abortion. A number of children were born and infected with the lack of acute malnutrition and some of them have died so the families were forced to eat plants and pets
The report documented the death of not less than 558 individuals due to the siege in 14 besieged areas, that are still under siege till now, 552 amongst which were at the hand of government forces and 6 civilians at the hand of ISIS.
According to the report that government forces besieged 11 areas in Syria, while there are 2 areas exposed to joint siege by government forces and ISIS, in addition to one area which exposed to Syrian Democratic Forces( mainly Democratic Union Party, Kurdish Workers party branch).
The report pointed out that the besieged regions exposed to what the regions which are not besieged and out of the regime’s control are exposed to such as bombardment, snipers, targeting using poisonous gases in addition to cluster munitions and barrel bombs as it exposed to not less than 70 attacks using chemical weapons by the government forces while government helicopter dropped not less than 8229 barrel bombs on the besieged areas.
The report recorded the killings of not less than 17145 civilians by the government forces and its allies inside the besieged areas since the beginning of the siege until the moment of making this report.
The report presented the fallacies of the United Nations in the siege case, as the reality in the besieged areas highly contradicts the statistics introduced in the General Secretary report, it is less than three times. Moreover, the areas under siege by the Syrian regime are suffering more than the besieged areas by other parties which it is mainly shown through the bombardment and daily killings processes as well as destruction and massacres.
The report emphasized that there is a lack of equity in the distribution of food aid, where the areas under the control of the Syrian regime take not less than 90% of the total of the aids and this rate was bigger in the previous years. Furthermore, the Syrian regime still requires obtaining its consent to enter the aid to the regions that are besieged and bombarded them and this is an awful paradox.
The report stated that the Syrian regime and ISIS have starkly violated the Humanitarian International Law through exposed the systematic siege of areas which mount to war crime with all its conditions, and assured that the Syrian regime, without any doubt, has violated the resolutions of the security council regarding the siege like the resolution No.2139 which issued on 22 February 2014 and the resolution No.2268 which issued in 22 February 2016, in addition to all resolutions between them (resolution No.2165 which issued on 14 July 2014, the resolution No. 2191 which issued 17 December 2014 and the resolution No. 2258 which issued on 18 December 2015).
The report recommended the United Nations to open comprehensive investigation regarding these allegations and accusations. In the case that the findings of the investigations proved that there was deliberate falsification or incompetency, then it should be publicized and those who were responsible must be held accountable. We urge that this investigation should be launched immediately as the UN credibility have been in doubt for years.
It also demanded the Security Council to apply the resolutions regarding convey of humanitarian aids and to break the siege (the resolutions 2139, 2165, 2191, 2254, 2258) as they are not apply yet.
SNHR called on the secretary of the UN to present a detailed report concerning the besieged areas and their population, how the aids are being distributed and to what areas the aids are being delivered. The report has to published as soon as possible to inform the Syrian community about the details.