KUWAIT, April 25 (KUNA) -- Kuwait's Permanent Representative at the UN Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi stressed Thursday the importance of securing safe, perpetual, and obstacle-free delivery of humanitarian aid to all Syrian areas.
Al-Otaibi made his remarks while addressing a UNSC session on the humanitarian situation in Syria on behalf of humanitarian partners of the Syrian humanitarian file; Belgium, Germany and Kuwait.
He reminded all warring parties in Syria of UNSC Resolution 2449 (2018), which authorizes a one-year extension of cross-border aid deliveries targeting 13 million people in Syria, which has been effective for more than four months.
The resolution also calls on all sides to secure providing safe, unimpeded, and sustained access for the humanitarian convoys of UN and its partners, including medical and surgical supplies, to Syria in 2019, said the Kuwaiti diplomat.
It is about time for all warring parties to honor such a commitment and exert further efforts to guarantee an uninterrupted delivery of humanitarian assistance to the needy ones in all Syrian areas, he added.
Meanwhile, Al-Otaibi indicated that the Syrian crisis, which has entered its ninth year, has seen some of the worst-ever conflicts in modern time, adding the humanitarian situation there is still cruel and that over 12 million people are currently in a desperate need for humanitarian aid and protection.
"We are very worried about the recent escalation of air strikes and shelling in northwestern Syria, which has impacted the civilian population there and forced the displacement of over 110,000 people since February," he said.
Such an escalation has led to deterioration of the humanitarian situation tragically in the de-escalation zone in northwestern Syria, Al-Otaibi noted, adding several civilians were killed and wounded as a result of this tension.
He expressed Kuwait's condemnation of such a loss of human lives due to the recent increase of violence, reminding all parties in Syria of their commitments to the international humanitarian law and international human rights law on protecting civilians and the country's infrastructure.
He mentioned UNSC Resolution 2286 (2016), which strongly condemns attacks against medical facilities and personnel in conflict situations, and Resolution 2427 (2018), which calls on all parties to armed conflict to comply strictly with the obligations applicable to them under international law for the protection of children in armed conflict situations.
Furthermore, the Kuwaiti diplomat noted that anti-terrorism efforts should not hinder humanitarian action in Syria, reiterating call for a full implementation of the memorandum of understanding signed between Russia and Turkey in Idlib, which calls for a ceasefire in around Syria in accordance with UNSC 2401.
He also voiced his country's major concern over the current situation at Al-Houl refugee camp, noting that refugees' number jumped to over 70,000 in April, compared to 10,000 in December, 2018, and that women and children comprise 92 percent of the camp's residents, most of whom were victims of terrorist groups' violence, including the so-called Islamic State.
Al-Otaibi also urged UNSC to expeditiously meet the special needs of refugees, particularly the elders and handicapped persons, calling on parties to armed conflict to allow humanitarian missions, including UN and its partners, to permanently access refugees' camps without delays or bureaucratic procedures.
At Rukban refugee camp, some 40,000 people are still in desperate need for humanitarian aid and medical attention, he said, noting that the last aid provided by a humanitarian convoy to the camp's residents last February is beginning to run out.
There are reports on lack of commodities and necessities at the camp, particularly health services and safe clean water, in addition to scattered ammunition in the area, which pose a grave threat to the refugees' safety, said the Kuwaiti diplomat.
According to the international law, Syria has seen some of the most dangerous crimes since the outbreak of the conflict that were committed by violators of the international humanitarian law and international human rights law, he mentioned, reiterating Kuwait's firm commitment to anti-impunity.
Refugees should be granted safe, unconditional, and honorable return to their homelands, Al-Otaibi affirmed, reiterating Kuwait's compliance to all commitments made at the conference to support Syrian humanitarian response, and urged all donors to honor their financial commitments as soon as possible. (end)