Statement Attributable to The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Mr. Geir O. Pedersen
I am gravely concerned by the escalating violence in Syria today. I am deeply concerned by the alarming reports of a drone attack on the graduation ceremony of a military academy in Homs, which the Government attributed to terrorist organizations and which reportedly caused many dozens of casualties, including civilians and children too.
I am concerned by reports of escalating pro-Government shelling and rocket fire into Idlib in the aftermath of the attack in Homs, with reports of civilian casualties and strikes on civilian infrastructure. This came against the backdrop of weeks of significant escalation in northwest Syria, with pro-Government airstrikes and also attacks by Security Council-listed terrorist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
We have also seen concerning reports today of escalating violence in northeast Syria, with reports of Turkish strikes, including on civilian infrastructure and reports of casualties. This escalation came on the back of an attack on Turkish Government facilities in Ankara, claimed by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
I deeply deplore the loss of life on all sides. I urgently appeal to all sides to exercise the utmost restraint. Today’s horrific scenes are a reminder of the need to immediately de-escalate violence, towards a nationwide ceasefire and a cooperative approach to countering Security Council-listed terrorist groups, in line with Security Council resolution 2254 (2015). All sides must respect their obligations under international law and ensure the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure.
Today’s developments further highlight that the status quo in Syria is unsustainable and that, in the absence of a meaningful political path to implementing Security Council resolution 2254 (2015), I fear we will only see further deterioration, including in the security situation.