LONDON: Military operations in northwest Syria have caused “unacceptable” human suffering and “massive waves of civilian displacement and major loss of civilian life,” the UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen told the Security Council on Thursday.
Hundreds of civilians have died and over half a million people have been displaced from their homes as fighting has intensified between Damascus and armed groups in the last rebel stronghold of Idlib in recent months.
Airstrikes and ground operations in Idlib by Russian-backed Syrian regime forces, Turkish forces and various militant groups have all contributed to creating a nightmare scenario, Pedersen said, with over half a million people displaced by violence in just two months.
The UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund announced that it was releasing an additional $30 million in aid to help ease the crisis.
Pedersen said he could see no military solution to the situation on the ground, and if UN resolution 2245 —calling for a “nationwide ceasefire” — is not implemented, the region will descend into a “bloody and protracted last stand on the Turkish border, with grave consequences for civilians.”
The UN’s Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Sir Mark Lowcock also addressed the Security Council, describing the situation in Idlib as a “humanitarian catastrophe.”