UN / SYRIA

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24-Aug-2021 00:04:59
“Ten years into this conflict, civilians in all parts of Syria continue to endure grave hardship,” the UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths told the Security Council on Tuesday, while the Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen reported an escalation in fighting in many parts of Syria. UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / SYRIA
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SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /NATS

DATELINE: 24 AUGUST 2021, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE

1.Exterior shot, UN Headquarters

24 AUGUST 2021, NEW YORK CITY

2.Wide shot, Security Council in session, Pederson and Erksoussi on screen
3.Cutaway, Syrian and Iranian delegates at the table
4.SOUNDBITE (English) Geir Pedersen, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria:
“I continue my efforts to facilitate convening a sixth session of the Small Body of the Constitutional Committee. I have met twice virtually in recent weeks with the Co-Chair nominated by the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Mr. al-Bahra. Meanwhile, my Head of Office in Damascus has met with the Co-Chair nominated by the Government, Dr. Kuzbari, and I have requested to visit Damascus. We are continuing our efforts to engage to find a way forward. But it is not easy. I strongly appeal for flexibility on the basis of my bridging proposal to overcome the impasse and convene a new session as soon as possible.”
5.Wide shot, Security Council in session, Pederson on screen
6.SOUNDBITE (English) Geir Pedersen, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria:
“There have been reports of significant airstrikes attributed to Israel in recent weeks, including a notable incident in Damascus on 20 August and indeed the sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity of Syria continues to be compromised.”
7.Wide shot, Security Council in session, Pederson on screen
8.SOUNDBITE (English) Geir Pedersen, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria:
“Syria has also been subjected to attacks by Security Council-listed terrorist groups elsewhere in the past month. These unacceptable attacks remind us that efforts to counter terrorism are essential, and to be effective require cooperation and coordination, and actions strictly within the bounds of international law. This must prioritize the protection of civilians and not lead to new waves of
displacement and destruction.”
9.Zoom in, Griffiths at the Council’s table
10.SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“Ten years into this conflict, civilians in all parts of Syria continue to endure grave hardship. Of course, it has gone on for far too long. In particular women and children have suffered immense physical and psychological trauma throughout years of conflict. Reports of families increasingly resorting to early marriage as a means to provide for their daughters due to the uncertainty of their circumstances, these are all too familiar.”
11.Wide shot, Council in meeting
12.SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“Following a slight improvement in April and May, the food security situation deteriorated again in June and July, with a 15 per cent increase of inadequate food consumption nationwide compared to July 2020. High commodity prices and the widespread loss of livelihoods forced more and more households to reduce meals and adopt negative coping strategies. Female headed households are particularly impacted.”
13.SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“Cross-border humanitarian assistance remains an essential lifeline for millions of people. The reauthorization will help ensure humanitarian assistance continues for over 3.4 million people in need, including one million children. Operations are set to increase in the coming weeks with more food dispatches and the start of winterization activities.”
14.Wide shot, Security Council with Erksoussi on screen
15.SOUNDBITE (English) Khaled Erksoussi, Secretary General, Syrian Arab Red Crescent:
“The humanitarian organizations are exhausted and frustrated with the idea that declaring sanctions and restrictive measures on the whole population is due to [bring us] the better future. It attempts to hinder efforts to normalize the lives of people who are returning to their destructed cities and are just trying to build up a new life with a little they have left. Please stop prioritizing political games over ending the suffering of fellow humans and let us all work together towards fulfilling humanitarian pledges made: more access, more support and less generalized sanctions and restrictive measures so that Syrians can live and rebuild their lives with dignity.”
16.Med shot, delegates
17.SOUNDBITE (English) Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of US to the United Nations:
“Let me state unequivocally, the United States is committed to supporting all Syrians in need, regardless of where they reside, including under the authority of the Syrian regime. U.S. sanctions are targeted at those who are robbing the Syrian people through their corrupt practices and committing war crimes – and not civilians. We will continue to work with NGOs and the United Nations to ensure that our sanctions do not have unintended consequences.”
18.Wide shot, Council members with screen above them

STORYLINE:

“Ten years into this conflict, civilians in all parts of Syria continue to endure grave hardship,” the UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths told the Security Council on Tuesday (24 Aug), while the Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen reported an escalation in fighting in many parts of Syria.

Briefing the Council remotely, Pedersen said fighting increased in Deraa governorate, northeastern areas of Raqqa and Hassaqeh, while tensions remain high in Idlib, northern Latakia, Aleppo and Hama.

“Syria has also been subjected to attacks by Security Council-listed terrorist groups elsewhere in the past month,” said Pedersen. “These unacceptable attacks remind us that efforts to counter terrorism are essential, and to be effective require cooperation and coordination, and actions strictly within the bounds of international law. This must prioritize the protection of civilians and not lead to new waves of displacement and destruction.”

The Special Envoy also cited reports “of significant airstrikes attributed to Israel in recent weeks, including a notable incident in Damascus on 20 August,” and said that “indeed the sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity of Syria continues to be compromised.”

Pedersen said he continues his efforts “to facilitate convening a sixth session of the Small Body of the Constitutional Committee.”

In that regard, he and his office have met with various counterparts and he said he has requested to visit Damascus.

“We are continuing our efforts to engage to find a way forward. But it is not easy. I strongly appeal for flexibility on the basis of my bridging proposal to overcome the impasse and convene a new session as soon as possible,” Pedersen said.

Also speaking was the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths.

He said that ongoing hostilities, economic crisis, water shortages, and COVID-19 are driving humanitarian needs for millions of already vulnerable people to some of the highest levels since the start of the conflict.

“Ten years into this conflict, civilians in all parts of Syria continue to endure grave hardship. Of course, it has gone on for far too long. In particular women and children have suffered immense physical and psychological trauma throughout years of conflict. Reports of families increasingly resorting to early marriage as a means to provide for their daughters due to the uncertainty of their circumstances, these are all too familiar,” Griffiths said.

Citing a recent UN assessment according to which a third of Syrian households have difficulties accessing markets, Griffiths said “following a slight improvement in April and May, the food security situation deteriorated again in June and July, with a 15 per cent increase of inadequate food consumption nationwide compared to July 2020. High commodity prices and the widespread loss of livelihoods forced more and more households to reduce meals and adopt negative coping strategies. Female headed households are particularly impacted.”

He also emphasized the need to improve the protection of civilians, alleviate the economic crisis, address the water crisis, and curb the spread of the virus to boost humanitarian access.

“Cross-border humanitarian assistance remains an essential lifeline for millions of people. The reauthorization will help ensure humanitarian assistance continues for over 3.4 million people in need, including one million children. Operations are set to increase in the coming weeks with more food dispatches and the start of winterization activities,” Griffiths said.

He announced that he would be travelling to Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey in the near future.

Also briefing the Council, the Secretary General of Syrian Arab Red Crescent, Khaled Erksoussi, said that “the humanitarian organizations are exhausted and frustrated” with the sanctions against Syria and he pleaded with the Council members to “work together towards fulfilling humanitarian pledges made: more access, more support and less generalized sanctions and restrictive measures so that Syrians can live and rebuild their lives with dignity.”

Calling on the Syrian regime to allow the humanitarian access to embattled Deraa governorate, the US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said “let me state unequivocally, the United States is committed to supporting all Syrians in need, regardless of where they reside, including under the authority of the Syrian regime. U.S. sanctions are targeted at those who are robbing the Syrian people through their corrupt practices and committing war crimes – and not civilians. We will continue to work with NGOs and the United Nations to ensure that our sanctions do not have unintended consequences.
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