New York

20 February 2015

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General of the United Nations on Syria

The Secretary-General appeals to all parties to de-escalate the conflict in order to provide a reprieve for the long-suffering civilians of Syria.  An immediate de-escalation is a much needed step towards a political solution to the conflict.

The Secretary-General takes note of the indication reported by Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura to the Security Council on 17 February that the Syrian Government has committed to suspend all aerial attacks and artillery shelling over the entire city of Aleppo for a period of six weeks. This is in order to allow the United Nations to implement a pilot project of unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid starting with one district in Aleppo and building incrementally to others.

He recalls that Security Council resolution 2139 called for an end to the indiscriminate employment of weapons in populated areas in Syria, including shelling and aerial bombardment, and expects the Syrian Government to follow through on its commitment. The Secretary-General also appeals to all armed opposition groups in Aleppo to suspend their shelling of the city.

The last four years of war have led to the deaths of over 200,000 civilians, the greatest refugee crisis of modern times and created an environment in which extremist groups and terrorist organizations such as ISIL/Daesh flourish. The Secretary-General recalls Security Council resolutions 2170 and 2178 and stresses that there is no military solution to this conflict.  This is a political conflict.  Ending the killing, reversing the increasing fragmentation of Syria requires a political process, based on the full implementation of the Geneva Communique of 2012, that addresses the deep roots of the conflict and meets the aspirations of all Syrians.