News by region: Middle East


Courageous Syrian swimmer named UN refugee agency Goodwill Ambassador

27 April – The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today appointed Yusra Mardini – a Syrian refugee who together with her sister swam for three hours in the Mediterranean Sea off Turkey’s coast, pulling a capsizing boat of refugees to safety – as its new Goodwill Ambassador.


Syria: ‘Glimmers of humanity’ overshadowed by brutality of attacks on civilians, says UN aid chief

27 April – With fighting intensifying on numerous fronts in Syria over the past months, the top United Nations humanitarian official today urged consolidation of the nationwide ceasefire, most importantly a pause in fighting on the outskirts of Damascus, to enable the delivery of aid.


Syria: UN aid officials urge end to airstrikes on hospitals

26 April – Following reports of airstrikes that damaged hospitals in northern Syria, two senior United Nations humanitarian officials today called for an end to such attacks.


Six months into battle for Mosul, water, trauma care are key UN and partner priorities

26 April – Safe drinking water is a major concern in Mosul, where a battle has been underway for the past six months to retake the city from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the United Nations humanitarian arm has said


Nearly $1.1 billion pledged for beleaguered Yemen at UN-led humanitarian conference

25 April – With nearly two-thirds of war-torn Yemen – about 19 million people – in need of emergency support, the international community today raised $1.1 billion at a pledging event in Geneva to aid what the United Nations chief calls “the world’s largest hunger crisis.”


UN-led conference to mobilize global action to avert 'humanitarian catastrophe' in Yemen

24 April – The United Nations together with the governments of Sweden and Switzerland will convene a one-day conference in Geneva, tomorrow, to draw global attention to the deepening humanitarian crisis in war-torn Yemen where millions are “close to a breaking point.”


UN welcomes release of 26 Qatari abductees in Iraq

22 April – The United Nations has welcomed the release and return to their country of 26 Qatari nationals abducted in Muthanna governorate, Iraq, in December 2015.


All sides in Syria crisis felt impact of ‘horrific’ weekend attack on evacuee convoy, says UN envoy

20 April – Speaking to journalists after a meeting of the Humanitarian Taskforce (HTF), Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, stated that the horrific attack on a convoy of evacuees this past weekend had impacted everyone at today’s talks.


UN expert body urges accountability for attacks against children in crisis-torn Syria

20 April – In the wake of the recent attack on an evacuation convoy near Aleppo, Syria, and the purported use of chemical weapons in southern Idlib, the United Nations child rights body today called for investigations into all attacks on children in the country and for bringing the perpetrators to justice.


Middle East engulfed by ‘perfect storm’ – one that threatens international peace, warns UN envoy

20 April – Reporting on the dire situation across the Middle East region, marked by the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War, fractured societies, proliferation of non-State actors and unbelievable human suffering, a United Nations envoy today reiterated the need for a surge in diplomacy for peace to ease the suffering of innocent civilians.