UN relief chief reiterates call to protect civilians in Syria

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Stephen O'Brien. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The international community is again being urged to help civilians caught in the conflict in Syria, which is now in its seventh year.

UN Humanitarian Affairs Coordinator Stephen O'Brien made the appeal in a briefing to the Security Council on Thursday.

Dianne Penn reports.

Mr O'Brien told the Council that each day, the lives of 13.5 million people in Syria are being threatened by the conflict, And each month, the UN and its humanitarian partners are doing all they can to reach those most in need.

Yet, despite their efforts, he said life-saving supplies are frequently removed from convoys before they even deploy.

"I repeat my call for this Council to act now to protect civilians. For those sitting around this table who are active in the conflict, incorporate protection of civilians fully into your military planning. For those with influence of the parties to the conflict, prioritize protection of civilians in all engagements with them. These are legal obligations under the laws of war, and they cannot be bent, broken or avoided."

Mr O'Brien also called on ambassadors to do more to ensure humanitarian access.

Above all, he said there must be a sustained reduction in the violence in Syria.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’00″

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