Statement Attributable to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Mr. Geir O. Pedersen on the Anniversary of the Syrian Conflict
As the Syrian conflict enters its thirteenth year, we remember with deep regret the countless lives lost, and recall the abuses and suffering of millions – not least the forcibly displaced, and the tens of thousands who remain arbitrarily detained, disappeared and missing.
The situation in Syria is untenable and to carry on in the same manner defies humanity and logic. The challenges faced in responding to the catastrophic earthquakes were a stark reminder that the status quo is unsustainable and indefensible.
In the aftermath of the earthquakes, we have a collective humanitarian imperative to depoliticise relief efforts. This means we need access, via all modalities; we need generous resources; and we need sustained calm.
But we cannot limit our collective efforts to the humanitarian response alone. Syria is devastated, divided, and impoverished, in an active state of conflict, its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity compromised. Without a comprehensive political solution to resolve these issues, one that restores Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and enables the Syrian people to live in dignity and chart their own future, Syrians’ pain will endure.
The earthquakes can be a turning point. In recent weeks, we have witnessed humanitarian steps from all sides that have moved beyond previous positions, even if temporarily. We need to see the same logic applied on the political front, to help find a way forward, including through step-for-step confidence building measures, resuming and substantively advancing the constitutional track, ensuring concrete action on detainees, abductees and missing persons, sustaining calm on the ground towards a nationwide ceasefire, and advancing a broader process to implement Security Council resolution 2254 (2015). This is how we can advance towards the comprehensive resolution of the conflict that Syrians demand and deserve.