The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres:
The Secretary-General is concerned about continued reports of attacks throughout the besieged enclave of eastern Ghouta, which reportedly claimed the lives of more than 100 people on 5 March, as well as reports of shelling of the City of Damascus. An inter-agency convoy by the United Nations, Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which was delivering life-saving humanitarian assistance to 27,500 people in need in Douma, eastern Ghouta, could not complete the delivery because of insecurity. As a result, 14 of the 46 trucks in the convoy were not able to fully offload critical humanitarian supplies. Nearly half of the food carried on the convoy could therefore not be delivered. Moreover, a part of the medical and health supplies to be included for delivery was removed by the Syrian authorities. The only other inter-agency convoy to reach besieged eastern Ghouta this year took place on 14 February, bringing assistance to 7,200 people.
The Secretary-General commends the courage of all humanitarians working tirelessly to ensure that people in need throughout Syria receive life-saving humanitarian aid. He calls on all parties to immediately allow safe and unimpeded access for further convoys to deliver critical supplies to hundreds of thousands of people in desperate need, in particular to complete the delivery to Douma, including medical and health supplies, planned for 8 March, in order to reach a total of 70,000 people, as previously agreed with the Syrian authorities.
The Secretary-General reminds all parties of their obligation under international humanitarian law and human rights law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure at all times, and of the basic responsibility to ensure the necessary protection of all humanitarian organisations, personnel, facilities and other relief assets.
The Secretary-General urges all parties to fully implement United Nations Security Council resolution 2401 (2018) without delay.