NCS: The United Nations must not wait for the Assad regime to allow to let aid to pass

Eldorar Alshamia Editor | 8 January, 2016

The Syrian Coalition sent a letter yesterday via its mission in the United States to the UN Security Council expressing regret at the UN’s decision to commend Assad for announcing aid will be allowed into Madaya. The letter said: “We profoundly regret OCHA’s (The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance) decision to welcome the Assad regime’s announcement to grant UN agencies access to Madaya. It [welcoming the move] wrongly implies that the provision of humanitarian access is optional, rather than being a legal obligation.”

The letter stressed that “the use of starvation as a tool of war is a war crime, for which the Assad regime must be held accountable.”

Today, after more than six months of Assad regime siege on Madaya, OCHA announced that the Assad regime had belatedly approved the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Madaya. 

The Coalition’s letter added that “more should be done to apply pressure on the regime, including through renewed look at the feasibility of drone-delivered air drops by those states currently conducting air operations against ISIS in Syria.”

Moreover, the Syrian Coalition emphasized that “promises to grant access are not enough. The Assad regime has not even granted immediate access of aid; it said aid will be allowed after four days…. In the meantime, according to doctors in the city, many more will die.”

The Syrian Coalition demanded the enforcement of Security Council resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2191 (2014) and 2258 (2015); and urged UN agencies to demand the delivery of aid to besieged and hard-to-reach-areas, irrespective of Syrian regime consent.

The letter called on the UN Security Council to “condemn in the strongest possible terms the Assad regime’s deliberate starvation of innocent civilians in Madaya, and make clear that starvation is not a tool to be employed at the Assad regime’s discretion.”

The letter also stressed that the failure to enforce UN Security Council resolutions only encourages those who starve civilians into submission.