11 March 2022

We Cannot Fail Syrian People, Secretary-General Says, Stressing ‘There Must Be No Impunity’, as Another Year of ‘Horrific’ Conflict Passes

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ statement on Syria today:

Another year has passed.  Another tragic commemoration of a horrific war that has devastated Syria and its people.  The past 11 years of brutal conflict have exacted an unconscionable human cost.  Syrians have been subjected to human rights violations on a massive and systematic scale.  The destruction that Syrians have endured is so extensive and deadly that it has few equals in modern history.  There must be no impunity.

The war’s destruction of basic infrastructure has deepened the economic crisis, pushing humanitarian needs to their highest levels since the conflict began.  Millions of internally displaced and refugees struggle to survive in the most difficult circumstances.

We must not lose hope, we must act now.  We must show the courage and determination to move beyond rhetorical commitments to peace and to do all that is necessary to reach a negotiated political solution in line with Security Council resolution 2254 (2015).  This is the path to a solution that meets the aspirations of all Syrians, creates the conditions necessary for the voluntary return of refugees in safety and dignity, counters terrorism, and respects Syria’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence.

We must ensure greater humanitarian access to address needs of people throughout the country.  Cross-line and cross-border deliveries are essential to reach millions of people in need.  Also, early recovery assistance builds resilience while addressing immediate life-saving needs.  I call on the Security Council to maintain consensus on renewing resolution 2585 (2021) in July.  It is a moral and humanitarian imperative.

Our collective action is needed to end the practice of arbitrary detention and forcible disappearance of many tens of thousands of people.  It is time to respond to the urgent calls of families across Syria who are seeking to clarify the fate and whereabouts of their missing loved ones.  As families seek truth for their loved ones, thousands continue to languish in prisons in unimaginable conditions.

My message is clear:  we cannot fail the Syrian people.  The conflict must cease.  International humanitarian law must be respected.  I call on all parties to meaningfully engage in the United Nations-facilitated political process and appeal for further support to scale up the humanitarian response.  We must choose peace.

For information media. Not an official record.