UN / SYRIA

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19-Feb-2020 00:04:01
UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen appealed once again for “full respect for international humanitarian law and for an immediate ceasefire in Idlib, ultimately towards a nationwide ceasefire.” UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / SYRIA
TRT: 4:01
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ARABIC / ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 19 FEBRUARY 2020, NEW YORK CITY / FILE

SHOTLIST:

FILE – RECENT – NEW YORK CITY

1.Wide shot, United Nations Headquarters

19 FEBRUARY 2020, NEW YORK CITY

2.Wide shot, Security Council
3.SOUNDBITE (English) Geir Pedersen, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria:
“I appeal once again for full respect for international humanitarian law and for an immediate ceasefire in Idlib, ultimately towards a nationwide ceasefire. I urge key international players to continue and intensify their contacts to restore calm. I urge all members of this Council to put their weight firmly behind the search for a political way forward.”
4.Wide shot, Security Council
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Geir Pedersen, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria:
“Turkey and Russia, as sponsors of the Idlib de-escalation arrangements, can and must play a key role
in finding a way to de-escalate the situation now.”
6. Wide shot, Security Council
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Geir Pedersen, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria:
“Military operations of all parties, including actions against and by designated terrorist groups, must respect the rules and obligations of international humanitarian law, which include the protection of civilians and civilian objects. The principles of proportionality must be respected.”
8.Wide shot, Security Council
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Geir Pedersen, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria:
“Efforts on this file have not yet produced meaningful progress in scale or pace with regards to releasing detainees and clarifying the fate of tens of thousands of Syrians unaccounted for. I reiterate my plea for unilateral releases, particularly of women and children.”
10. Wide shot, Security Council
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“People are fleeing under horrendous conditions. Many are on foot or on the backs of trucks in below-freezing temperatures, in the rain and the snow. They are moving into increasingly crowded areas they think will be safer. But in Idlib, nowhere is safe. Almost 50,000 people are sheltering under trees or in other open spaces. I am getting daily reports of babies and other young children dying in the cold.”
12. Wide shot, Security Council
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Feridun Hadi Sinirlioğlu, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations:
“We will continue to respond by all necessary means. As President Erdogan has announced, Turkey will hit all targets that pose an immediate threat. We will not withdraw our forces and we will not abandon our observation posts. It is the regime who should withdraw from its current positions until the end of this month. I would like to underline once again that Turkish forces are in Idlib to stabilize the situation and to preserve the de-escalation area status of this province.”
14. Wide shot, Security Council
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Feridun Hadi Sinirlioğlu, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations:
“I will not honor him with a response since I do not consider him as my legitimate counterpart.
His regime has blood of innocent people on its hands and lost its legitimacy long ago. His mere presence in the Council is an assault to the millions of Syrians who suffered countless crimes at the hands of this regime.”
16. Wide shot, Security Council
17. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Louay Falouh, Minister Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations:
“At the outset I would like to remind of a legal rule which says ‘the one who does not possess something cannot give it.’ So how can the representative of the terrorist, murderous, criminal, aggressor, thief Erdogan regime claim his keenness for the Syrian people? This is a terrorist regime, as recognized by the United Nations, whereby tens of thousands of foreign terrorist fighters have been brought in through Turkish territory coming from more than 101 countries.”
18. Wide shot, Security Council

STORYLINE:

UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen appealed once again for “full respect for international humanitarian law and for an immediate ceasefire in Idlib, ultimately towards a nationwide ceasefire.”

Briefing the Security Council via video link from Geneva today (19 Feb), the UN top negotiator told the Council that he cannot report any progress in ending the current violence in the North-West or in reconvening the political process, since his last briefing two weeks ago. He urged “key international players to continue and intensify their contacts to restore calm,” as well as all members of the Council to “put their weight firmly behind the search for a political way forward.”

According to the UN, hostilities are now approaching densely populated areas - such as Idlib city and Bab al-Hawa border crossing, which has among the highest concentration of displaced civilians in northwest Syria and also serves as a humanitarian lifeline.

Pedersen also stressed that Turkey and Russia, “as sponsors of the Idlib de-escalation arrangements, can and must play a key role in finding a way to de-escalate the situation now.”

He noted that Russian and Turkish delegations have met intensively in recent days — in Ankara, Munich and Moscow — and there have been presidential contacts too, however, he said that no understanding has yet emerged.

Noting that the Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) and other proscribed terrorist groups remain a major presence inside Idlib, the Special Envoy stressed, “military operations of all parties, including actions against and by designated terrorist groups, must respect the rules and obligations of international humanitarian law, which include the protection of civilians and civilian objects.” He added, “the principle of proportionality must be respected.”

Pedersen also noted that he had hoped that the launch of the Constitutional Committee on the basis of a composition and the Terms of Reference and Core Rules of Procedure formally agreed with the Syrian Government and the Syrian opposition, could be a door opener to building some trust and confidence and to a wider positive dynamic for such a process. However, so far, this has not been the case.

On the release of detainees, abductees, the handover of bodies and the identification of missing persons, Pedersen said, “efforts on this file have not yet produced meaningful progress in scale or pace with regards to releasing detainees and clarifying the fate of tens of thousands of Syrians unaccounted for.”

The Special Envoy reiterated his plea for “unilateral releases, particularly of women and children,” and urged that the parties to improve access to information for families about their detained or missing relatives.

On the humanitarian front, UN chief of humanitarian affairs Mark Lowcock noted that the frontlines in Idleb and Western Aleppo have moved swiftly. Advancing frontlines have driven huge population movements in a matter of days, as families try to escape the aerial and ground bombardment.

According to the UN, over the weekend, from 13 to 16 February, 160,000 people were recorded fleeing mostly from from Atareb and Daret Azza sub-districts, away from advancing frontlines. Nearly 900,000 people have been displaced since 1 December; more than 500,000 of them are children.

Lowcock said, “people are fleeing under horrendous conditions. Many are on foot or on the backs of trucks in below-freezing temperatures, in the rain and snow.”

He continued, “they are moving into increasingly crowded areas they think will be safer. But in Idleb, nowhere is safe. Almost 50,000 people are sheltering under trees or in other open spaces. I am getting daily reports of babies and other young children dying in the cold.”

Also addressing the Council, Turkish Ambassador Feridun Hadi Sinirlioğlu said that the Syrian Government resumed its deliberate attacks on Turkish forces. Five more Turkish soldiers were deliberately targeted last week and lost their lives. Turkish Armed Forces immediately retaliated in self-defense.

Ambassador Sinirlioğlu reiterated, “we will not withdraw our forces and we will not abandon our observation posts. It is the regime who should withdraw from its current positions until the end of this month.”

The Ambassador also underlined once again that “Turkish forces are in Idlib to stabilize the situation and to preserve the de-escalation area status of this province.”

Louay Falouh, Minister Counsellor at the Syrian mission to the UN, said some countries were trying to transform the Security Council into a platform for the NATO Alliance to cover Turkey’s aggressive action in Syria which threaten international peace and security.

Falouh said it is illogical that western countries had increased their aggression and their unilateral coercive measures against Syria when a constitutional committee has been announced. He said these countries pushed Turkey to continue its violation of Syrian sovereignty and to carry out a direct military assault to save their tools represented in the armed terrorist groups.

The Minister Counsellor said those who defend Turkey’s aggression on Syria must remember that Idlib is part of the Syrian Arab Republic and is currently controlled by Hayat Tahrir Al Sham, which the UN recognizes as a terrorist entity.

Responding to the Syrian Minister Counsellor, Ambassador Sinirlioğlu also said that he “will not honor him with a response,” since he does not consider him as a “legitimate counterpart. He added that "the regime has blood of innocent people on its hands and lost its legitimacy long ago. His mere presence in the Council is an assault to the millions of Syrians who suffered countless crimes at the hands of this regime.”

Responding to the Turkish ambassador, Falouh asked, “How can the representative of the terrorist, murderous, criminal, aggressor, thief Erdogan regime claim his keenness for the Syrian people? This is a terrorist regime, as recognized by the United Nations, whereby tens of thousands of foreign terrorist fighters have been brought in through Turkish territory coming from more than 101 countries.”
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