New York

1 February 2016

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on bombings in the Sayidda Zeinab district of Damascus

The Secretary-General condemns the triple bombing carried out near the Sayidda Zeinab shrine in southern Damascus on 31 January. Reports from the Syrian government and local monitors suggest that more than 60 people may have been killed and over 100 wounded in the heinous attack claimed by Daesh/ISIL. The Secretary-General extends his deepest condolences to the bereaved families and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured. Those responsible for such attacks on civilians must be held accountable.

Yesterday’s gruesome attacks coincided with the start of the Geneva Talks. The Secretary-General underlines that the Syrian people expect to see credible negotiations in Geneva.  They deserve more than the false choice between extremism and repression. It is essential that that the representatives of the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition agree on immediate improvements to Syria’s dire humanitarian situation, a political transition that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people, and a parallel ceasefire. These talks must produce an outcome that allows ordinary Syrians to decide on their future.

The Secretary-General urges all parties to seize this rare diplomatic opportunity. It is also incumbent upon the members of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) to follow through on their commitment to push for safe, sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access throughout Syria, in particular to besieged areas; the release of arbitrarily detained persons; and the immediate cessation of any indiscriminate use of weapons, including through shelling and aerial bombardment.