The United Nations Security Council yesterday approved a resolution (2139) demanding full access to the starving war victims in Syria. The resolution calls for an end to all violence to allow the country to rebuild.
As peace talks between Syria's government and rebels have stalled, civilians continue to endure tremendous suffering. Basic supplies of food and medicine are low in many areas, but aid groups are often blocked off by the fighting.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said, "This resolution should not have been necessary. Humanitarian assistance is not something to be negotiated; it is something to be allowed by virtue of international law. Profoundly shocking to me is that both sides are besieging civilians as a tactic of war."
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is trying to feed over four million Syrians but falls shorts as military forces deny access. Children have starved to death because of malnutrition. If humanitarian aid had been allowed to reach them, they would likely have been saved.
The Secretary General praised the efforts of WFP, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and others, stating, "Despite the dangerous circumstances, UN humanitarian agencies and our partners are reaching millions of people. But too many millions are beyond our reach. And funding continues to fall short; I urge the international community to step up its contributions."
Mark Lyall Grant, the UK's UN ambassador said, "The Syrian regime must lift the blockade, stop using barrel bombs and allow the United Nations and its partners to deliver aid, and it needed to comply immediately with those demands."
The ambassador also highlighted the differences among the security council even in regards to the humanitarian tragedy. Grant said yesterday, "Despite claims by the Russian delegation that the humanitarian situation had improved, the reality on the ground told a different story: 9.3 million people needed assistance, which was an increase of nearly one third since October 2013. The number of internally displaced people had also increased, and 140,000 people had been killed since the crisis began."
WFP alone is going to need around US $ 2 billion this year to feed Syria's war victims. This also includes feeding over two million refugees who have fled the country. The humanitarian crisis will only continue to escalate unless the war comes to an end.
The Secretary General added, "While the political process continues, we will continue to do all we can to provide relief and protection to people in need on the ground."
WFP has set up a Syria relief fund.