UN / SYRIA

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26-May-2021 00:04:18
Violent conflict, terrorism and human rights abuses continue in Syria as its besieged population suffers economic destitution, displacement, detention and abduction, the UN’s Special Envoy for the country told the Security Council on Wednesday. UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / SYRIA
TRT: 4:18
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 26 MAY 2021, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE

1. Exterior shot, UN Headquarters

26 MAY 2021, NEW YORK CITY

2. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual meeting
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Geir Pedersen, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria:
“It is a tragic irony that this time of relative calm, compared with earlier years of the conflict, is also a period of immense and growing humanitarian suffering of the Syrian people. It is a time of economic destitution, a pandemic, displacement, detention and abduction – all while violent conflict, terrorism and human rights abuses continue.”
4. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual meeting
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Geir Pedersen, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria:
“We need a lasting nationwide ceasefire, building on the existing calm brought about by international arrangements and understandings between key international actors. It is important to combat Security Council-listed terrorist groups, through an approach that is effective, cooperative and inclusive of all relevant actors, and which upholds the principles of international law and prioritizes the protection of civilians.”
6. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual meeting
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“The Syrian pound remains at over 3,000 to the dollar and food prices, partly as a consequence, remain at historically high levels. More than two households in five – more than 40 per cent – report not having sufficient, or sufficiently nutritious, food. Nearly half of Syrian families who were surveyed in April said that adults are eating less themselves so that the children in the family can be fed.”
8. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual meeting
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“The UN has not been able to deliver aid to Rukban since September 2019, nor have we been able to conduct assessments. Such reports that reach us from the camp paint a dismal picture of malnourishment, disease, and virtually no services apart from water. Efforts continue to facilitate the departure of those who wish to leave to go to government areas, and to identify alternative solutions for those who wish to remain, while also continuing to seek access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, including, by the way, vaccinations.”
10. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual meeting
11. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Bassam al-Sabbagh, Permanent Representative of Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations:
“These practices of the Turkish regime, led to the deterioration in the humanitarian and living conditions over millions of Syrians and increased the burdens that the Syrian government and its partners face to improve the humanitarian situation in all areas where Syrians’ lives depend on water supplies from Tigris and Euphrates rivers.”
12. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual meeting
13. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Bassam al-Sabbagh, Permanent Representative of Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations:
“We call on the member states of the Security Council, especially those countries that boast about the concern of humanitarian issues, to move urgently to pressure their Turkish ally to remove international waters from political differences and to re-pump water to its normal level, in accordance with the agreements in force, as well as to prevent the use of water as a weapon of war against civilians.”
14. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual meeting
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Feridun Hadi Sinirlioǧlu, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations:
“The average amount of water released by Turkey from Euphrates to downstream in the first half of the year has been over 500 cubic meters per second. As in the past, Turkey will continue to take all necessary precautionary measures to continue that flow. At the same time, downstream countries are equally responsible for the utilization of transboundary waters in an efficient and sustainable manner and operating their downstream dams in a way to secure water, even for dry periods.”
16. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual meeting
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Feridun Hadi Sinirlioǧlu, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations:
“Electrical supply to Ras Al-Ayn and Tal Abiad from the Tishreen Dam through Mabroukah and Derbasiyah electricity station, which is the only source of electrical power to the region continues to be deliberately interrupted by the terrorist organization PKK YPG, on a regular basis.”
18. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual meeting

STORYLINE:

Violent conflict, terrorism and human rights abuses continue in Syria as its besieged population suffers economic destitution, displacement, detention and abduction, the UN’s Special Envoy for the country told the Security Council on Wednesday (26 May).

“It is a tragic irony that this time of relative calm, compared with earlier years of the conflict, is also a period of immense and growing humanitarian suffering of the Syrian people”, Geir Pedersen said via videoconference.

With a view towards a UN facilitated, Syrian-led and owned political solution, backed by constructive international diplomacy, the Special Envoy highlighted several necessary steps, beginning with a nationwide ceasefire and the need to shut down Security-Council-listed terrorist groups.

“We need a lasting nationwide ceasefire, building on the existing calm brought about by international arrangements and understandings between key international actors,” he said.

Also speaking at the meeting, Mark Lowcock, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator described the dire humanitarian situation, in which “nearly half of Syrian families who were surveyed in April said that adults are eating less themselves so that the children in the family can be fed.”

“The Syrian pound remains at over 3,000 to the dollar and food prices, partly as a consequence, remain at historically high levels,”Lowcock said. "More than two households in five – more than 40 per cent – report not having sufficient, or sufficiently nutritious, food.”

Lowcock highlighted the water shortages in the northeast, where the reduced levels in the Euphrates have impacted nearly 5.5 million people who rely on it for drinking water and the Tishreen dam in north-eastern Aleppo governorate, which stands at less than half of the operational minimum of 500 cubic meters per second and faces a complete shutdown.

Meanwhile downstream in ar-Raqqa governorate, water levels at the emergency backup Tabqa dam are now 80 per cent depleted, according to the Humanitarian Coordinator.

Accusing Turkey of deliberately decreasing the flow of the Euphrates river which “led to the deterioration in the humanitarian and living conditions over millions of Syrians,” the Syrian ambassador Bassam al-Sabbagh called for the Council members “to pressure their Turkish ally’ into returning water “to its normal level, and “to prevent the use of water as a weapon of war against civilians.”

Ambassador Feridun Hadi Sinirlioǧlu of Turkey rejected the accusations, saying that despite the record-low water levels, “the average amount of water released by Turkey from Euphrates to downstream in the first half of the year has been over 500 cubic meters per second,” and that “downstream countries are equally responsible” for managing their water levels , “even for dry periods.”

He also accused the “terrorist organization PKK-YPG” for “deliberately” interrupting electricity supply to the region “on a regular basis.”
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