The meeting was called to order at 10.10 a.m.

Adoption of the agenda
The agenda was adopted.

The situation in the Middle East
The President
: In accordance with rule 37 of the
Council’s provisional rules of procedure, I invite the
representatives of Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic
and Turkey to participate in this meeting.

In accordance with rule 39 of the Council’s
provisional rules of procedure, I invite the following
to participate in this meeting: Baroness Valerie Amos,
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and
Emergency Relief Coordinator; Mr. António Guterres,
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees;
Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative of
the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conf lict;
and Ms. Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the
Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conf lict.

On behalf of the Council, I welcome Mr. António
Guterres, who is participating in today’s meeting via
videoteleconference from Geneva.

The Security Council will now begin its
consideration of the item on its agenda.

I now give the f loor to Baroness Amos.

Ms. Amos: The situation in Syria is a humanitarian
catastrophe, with ordinary people paying a price for the
failure to end the conf lict. The parties to the conf lict
have become increasingly entrenched in the rhetoric
and reality of war, with total disregard for the impact on
people’s lives. This body has been unable to reach the
consensus necessary to support a political resolution to
the crisis.

The destruction of essential infrastructure,
including schools and hospitals, the devaluation of
the currency, rising food prices, a shortage of fuel and
electricity and a lack of water has had an impact on the
majority of Syrians. The needs are growing rapidly and
are most severe in the conf lict and opposition-controlled
areas. The latest figures show 6.8 million people in
need, 4.25 million people internally displaced and
an additional 1.3 million who have sought refuge in
neighbouring countries. The economic collapse has
led to a consequential collapse in people’s coping
mechanisms. At the same time that needs are growing dramatically, so, too, are the constraints inhibiting our
ability to scale up the humanitarian response.

Therefore, the question facing all of us around this
table is: when is not enough too little, and when does
continuing to do too little become part of the problem?
Syria’s main cities have been devastated by the
conf lict. Dayr al-Zawr, Hama, Homs and Idlib have
been reduced to rubble. A United Nations inter-agency
convoy that crossed the front lines in Aleppo last week
witnessed the extraordinary destruction in the city.

Large parts do not have running water because there
is no electricity. Waste is piling up, raising fears that
diseases will multiply as the summer heat approaches.

There are growing concerns about outbreaks of
diarrhoea and, potentially, even cholera if the most
basic of services cannot be urgently restored. The group
visited a hospital in Aleppo, where more than 3,500 warwounded
patients had reportedly been treated. There is
no blood bank, and doctors are performing surgery at
times without anaesthetics or even suture thread. The
hospital and its staff are regularly hit during fighting.

However, our descriptions cannot begin to give the
Council the real picture of the horrors being meted out
every day. We have heard testimonies of houses burned
with families inside and of people being bombed and
killed while queuing for a piece of bread. That is the
reality of Syria today.

Children are among the ones who suffer most. More
than 3 million have already been affected, including
2 million displaced. Children have been murdered,
tortured and subjected to sexual violence. Many
do not have enough food to eat. Millions have been
traumatized by the horrors they have witnessed. The
brutal conf lict is not only shattering Syria’s present, it
is also destroying its future.

The High Commissioner for Refugees will brief the
Council on the situation of the more than 1.3 million
Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries. I share
his concern about the growing impact of the refugee
crisis on neighbouring countries, particularly Lebanon,
Jordan and Turkey. We urgently need to increase our
support to those countries and give them the help they
need to continue to keep their borders open.

I visited Syria four times in the past year. My most
recent visit was in January, and I was able to report to
the Council areas of improvement in our relationship
with the Syrian Government, including their agreement United Nations humanitarian agencies and our
partners could access all areas of Syria and their
agreement to fast-track administrative procedures to
facilitate an effective humanitarian response.

I regret to inform the Council that, since my visit
in January, bureaucratic obstacles have grown and are
inhibiting our ability to respond. Twenty-one visas
are pending, many for more than two months. All aid
convoys require 72 hours’ notice, with as many as
10 notes verbale being exchanged to gain approval for
a single convoy. The approved list of non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) has recently been reduced, from
110 to 29. Only four additional international NGOs have
been approved this year and, given the bureaucratic
hurdles, only one is operational.

The approval to open United Nations hubs in six
key cities was issued more than a year ago, yet this
has only been operationalized recently for two cities,
with a commitment to continue discussions on two
more. Notwithstanding the fact that NGOs are cleared
to accept United Nations funding, every project is
considered in detail by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
with the result that projects designed in February for
funding under the Central Emergency Response Fund
are still awaiting final approval in the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs.

Twenty-two armoured vehicles, which are so
vital for staff security, are still pending approval for
import. In the past 24 hours, we have been informed
that every truck needs a permit signed by two ministers
to enable clearance through Government checkpoints.

When I tell the Council that a convoy from Damascus
to Aleppo goes through 50 checkpoints, half of them
Government-controlled, members will appreciate the
impossibility of that request. We cannot do business
that way.

The continued conf lict and the proliferation of
armed groups has made Syria a highly unpredictable and
insecure environment, jeopardizing aid organizations’
operations. In the past two months, access to those in
the most severe need has diminished. Homs is a good
example. In February and March, 276,000 people in
the most severe need were effectively cut off from
assistance, as the Government had closed down Syrian
Arab Red Crescent cross-line operations. We have
similar restrictions in Rif Damascus, Aleppo, Dar’a
and elsewhere. They have all been the target of United
Nations-led cross-line missions, but, due to access
restrictions, the scale of aid delivered falls far short of
the needs.

In the case of Aleppo, it is important to highlight
that, contrary to some widely held perceptions, aid f lows
across the Turkish border have significantly declined in
the past two months. The main crossing point at Kilis,
through which 50 per cent of aid reportedly f lows, has
recorded a reduction to approximately 20 trucks per day,
down from between 50 and 80 trucks two months ago.

The assistance coordination unit, the humanitarian arm
of the Syrian coalition, has limited capacity and access.

We are therefore not reaching those most urgently
in need of our help, that is, the 2.5 million people in
Aleppo and north of the city. The strengthening of the
assistance coordination unit should not come at the
expense of Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

The data available to us shows that the people in the
opposition-held areas are in the most urgent need. We
have a duty and a responsibility to try to reach them.

During my recent visit to Turkey, I was horrified to hear
accounts of children dying of hunger in those areas.

We need to get aid into those hard-to-reach areas. It is
difficult to do that cross-line because of bureaucratic

The Council needs to consider alternative forms
of aid delivery, including cross-border operations,
because too many lives are being lost. When I tell the
Council that the journey from Damascus to Aleppo is
310 kilometres, with the 50 checkpoints that I mentioned,
members should remember what I said about the need
for ministers now to sign off each truck — the journey
from Kilis to Aleppo is just 56 kilometres.

Across the country, humanitarian convoys are
regularly attacked or shot at and their personnel are
intimidated or kidnapped. As an example, on 21 March,
a World Health Organization (WHO) convoy carrying
medical assistance for 80,000 people was hijacked by
an armed group on its way from Tartus to Aleppo, and
all the supplies were stolen. Yet, despite the threat,
humanitarian workers continue their critical work.

I want to pay particular tribute to the work of the
Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers. They have shown
incredible dedication, impartiality and courage since
the beginning of the conf lict. Many of them do not
hesitate to risk their lives every day to bring assistance
to the people in need, whether they live in Governmentor
opposition-controlled areas. Eighteen have been
killed in the course of their humanitarian work. Given its network across the country and its capacity to
negotiate access to almost all the affected areas, the
Syrian Arab Red Crescent is an invaluable partner
to the United Nations and the other humanitarian
organizations in Syria. They proved it again during the
mission to Aleppo last weekend, when its volunteers
were welcomed on both sides of the line. We all need to
support the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. Syria needs it.

There has been a qualitative and quantitative
step-change in the United Nations agency presence
and response in Syria, including the establishment of
a hub in Homs. The deployment of a senior resident
humanitarian coordinator to oversee the response
has finally been agreed with the Government and is
expected in the coming weeks. In March, World Food
Programme food assistance reached close to 2 million
people across the country, many of whom are in areas
under opposition control. UNICEF and partners have
reached more than 5 million people with safe drinking
water, and they aim to reach an additional 5 million in
the coming months through the chlorination and repair
of urban and rural water supply systems. The provision
of primary and secondary health-care services to
approximately 2.7 million Syrians has been supported
by the WHO and its partners. The United Nations
Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the
Near East continues to assist the 400,000 Palestinian
refugees, many of whom face future displacement.

I can also report some improvement in the funding
situation since my last briefing to the Council. About
half of the $1.5 billion required to cover Syria’s
humanitarian needs until June has been received,
with the recent allocation of the $300 million pledged
by the Kuwaiti Government in January — a welcome
and timely disbursement by the Amir of Kuwait. I ask
those Member States that have not yet converted their
conference pledges to cash to do so urgently.

I cannot overstate the seriousness of the current
situation in Syria. I do not have an answer for those
Syrians to whom I have spoken who ask me why the
world has abandoned them. While the humanitarian
situation on the ground is becoming increasingly
disastrous every day, the limitations on the ground have
forced us into being precariously close to suspending
some critical humanitarian operations.

We are approaching the point of no return. Members
of the international community, particularly members of
the Council, must urgently come together in support of
the Syrian people. As a matter of priority, the Security
Council must find ways to reduce the level of violence
and to stop the bloodshed. Parties must be reminded
of their obligation to protect civilians and to abide by
international humanitarian law. The consequences of
violating those rules must be made clear to all. The
protection of medical facilities, staff and patients, in
particular, must be ensured at all times. Parties must
demilitarize hospitals and, in the conduct of hostilities,
must take all precautionary measures to avoid hitting
medical facilities or staff.

The Council must also request the parties to ensure
the safe and unimpeded access of aid organizations to
those in need in all areas of Syria. It is not acceptable
that humanitarian workers continue to be targeted while
bringing relief to people. If some routes are not safe, it
is the responsibility of the parties to identify alternative
routes, including across international borders.

We all look to the Council to guarantee the peace
and security of the people of our world. My appeal is on
behalf of not only the Syrian people but also all those
seeking to assist them. We are losing hope. We cannot
do our jobs properly. We look to the Council to take the
action necessary to end the brutal conf lict.

The President: I thank Ms. Amos for her briefing.

I now give the f loor to Mr. Guterres.

Mr. Guterres: First of all, I want to thank the
Security Council for this new opportunity to address it
on the Syrian refugee crisis.

Re-reading what I said in my last intervention,
in February, I am almost tempted to limit my present
statement to just 10 seconds. Everything that I said
last time is still true, but it has all got much worse. If
nothing politically dramatic happens, things will go on
getting worse for the months to come.

Refugees were f leeing Syria at a rate of about
3,000 a day in December. That number grew to 5,000
in January. Eight thousand people have crossed Syria’s
borders every single day since February. That totals
400,000 new refugees in the seven weeks since my last

As of yesterday, counting only those registered or
waiting to be registered, there were 1,367,413 Syrian
refugees across the Middle East and North Africa.

Including the internally displaced, a quarter of the
entire population of Syria has been forced to leave their homes. The plight of Palestinian refugees remains as
dramatic as I last reported.

However, such stark numbers say little about the
horrendous suffering of a people, the progressive
collapse of a State and the physical destruction of a

Let us be very clear: there is no humanitarian
solution for the Syrian crisis. That is why it is so tragic
that we are not even seeing an inch of progress towards
a political solution. We as humanitarians, therefore, are
forced to go on planning for the impossible. Together
with our 60 partner organizations and the host States,
the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees is now preparing the fifth version of
our regional response plan to assist the ever-growing
number of refugees. Valerie Amos, the Emergency
Relief Coordinator, is leading similar efforts to update
the humanitarian assistance plan inside Syria.

That process is still ongoing, but the preliminary
planning figures are terrifying. If nothing changes, at
the current pace there may be up to 3.5 million Syrian
refugees by the end of this year, and probably up to
6.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance
inside the country. That is not just frightening; it risks
becoming simply unsustainable. There is no way to
adequately respond to the enormous humanitarian
needs those figures represent, and it is difficult to
imagine how a nation can endure so much suffering.

I know that, as High Commissioner for Refugees, I
should confine my remarks to the scope of my mandate.

As a citizen of the world, however, I cannot refrain
from asking: is there no way to stop this fighting so as
to open the door for a political solution? But while we
continue to wait for a miracle to happen, it is our duty
to do everything we can to protect, assist and respect
the dignity of all those Syrians who have sought safety
abroad, mainly in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.

For that to be possible, all of the humanitarian
actors involved need levels of financial support that
are out of proportion with the established humanitarian
aid budgets of traditional donors. Together with my
colleagues from UNICEF, the World Food Programme
and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs, I have been asking Governments and
parliaments to establish extraordinary funding
mechanisms for the Syria crisis. I am also extremely
grateful for the generous recent contribution from the
Government of Kuwait to multilateral aid agencies, and
I hope others will follow that example. We cannot let
the Syrian people down. The Syrian people, who have
always been extremely generous in hosting refugees
from Palestine and Iraq, always sharing their resources
with them, now need our support.

Syria is much more than a humanitarian crisis. In
my last intervention before the Council, I spoke about
the real risk of the conf lict spilling over across the region
and of the situation escalating into a political, security
and total humanitarian disaster that would completely
overwhelm the international response capacity.

The first step necessary to avoid such an escalation
is for the international community to provide massive
support, especially to the two countries that are the
most dramatically impacted by the Syrian conf lict and
the refugee outf low it has caused: Jordan and Lebanon.

All of Syria’s neighbours need international
solidarity, and one should not forget that Turkey in
particular has been making an enormous financial
investment of more than $750 million in direct
assistance alone to over 300,000 Syrian refugees.

However, Jordan and Lebanon, each hosting about a
third of the registered refugee population in the region,
must be provided especially solid support.

For Lebanon, the Syrian crisis has become an
existential threat. The population has grown by more
than 10 per cent, if one counts the registered Syrian
refugees alone. Most of them are staying in the country’s
poorest regions. Taking into account the refugees
who are not seeking registration and Syrian migrant
workers, some even estimate that up to a quarter of the
population of Lebanon may now be Syrian.

Refugees are staying with local families and
scattered across nearly 1,200 towns and villages.

Some Lebanese households host more than 25 Syrians
under their roofs. The political wisdom of Lebanon’s
leadership has so far kept the country out of the Syrian
conf lict. But security incidents along the border pose
a serious challenge for Lebanon. In addition to facing
dire economic consequences because of its neighbour’s
internal turmoil, Lebanon has not received any direct
international support in many months. That has to
change urgently. International solidarity must match
the enormous effort that the country has been making
to step up the response to the Syrian crisis and to
deal with its staggering implications for the Lebanese
economy and delicate social and political balance. Jordan is also coming under tremendous pressure
as a result of the conf lict next door. Completely
dependent on energy imports, and with water scarcity
becoming a major problem, the Jordanian economy was
already struggling before turmoil broke out in Syria.

But the situation has become increasingly fragile since
2011. Like in Lebanon, the Syria crisis has caused a
significant drop in revenues from trade, tourism and
foreign investment, compounded by the impact of a
very large refugee inf lux.

Jordan’s economic indicators are worrying, with
unsustainable public and external deficit levels, and the
country has had to apply tough austerity measures. My
appeal to the international community is to extend the
massive financial support that Jordan needs, with the
understanding that its economic adjustment requires
sufficient f lexibility to prevent levels of social unrest
that could entirely jeopardize the stability of the

I know from the experience of my own country what
austerity means, and what impact it has on society. But
in Jordan, the regional context is infinitely more fragile
than in southern Europe, and the social and political
risks are incomparably higher.

Helping Syria’s neighbours deal with the human
fallout of this terrible conf lict is crucial for preserving
the stability of the entire region. This is not just
another refugee crisis; what happens in Syria and in
the neighbouring countries potentially has much wider,
even global, implications. By keeping their borders open
to thousands of refugees f leeing day after day, Jordan,
Lebanon, Turkey and others are doing an extraordinary
service to the international community. Failure to give
those countries the support that they need to continue
providing sanctuary to so many suffering Syrians
would not only mean abandoning a people and a whole
region. It would be the world’s blindness to its own best

The President: I thank Mr. Guterres for his

I now give the f loor to Ms. Bangura.

Ms. Bangura: I thank you, Mr. President, for this
opportunity to brief the Security Council and for your
continued and unwavering support in addressing sexual
violence in conf lict.

Today I am here to plead with the Council on behalf
of the victims of sexual violence in Syria. Those victims
have been raped, tortured and humiliated. They are
either internally displaced or live as refugees. They do
not have a voice, and they are not part of any statistics.

We estimate that there are hundreds of survivors, but
this could be only the tip of the iceberg.

Women and girls displaced by the conf lict relate
that sexual violence, including rape, is one of the main
reasons why they have f led their homes and left the
country. We hear of girls being raped in front of their
fathers, wives in front of their husbands. We are aware
that both Government forces and opposition fighters
are abducting women and girls to extract intelligence,
at times using them as leverage for the release of
prisoners. With the conf lict becoming increasingly
sectarian and violations more militarized, the presence
of foreign fighters, including those affiliated with
Islamist groups, who have joined armed opposition
groups have increased the vulnerability of civilians and
the possibility of revenge rapes against them.

Earlier this year, in February, I briefed the Security
Council and brought to the Council’s attention the
incidents of sexual violence highlighted in the report of
the international commission of inquiry on Syria. The
commission noted numerous cases of sexual violence
committed by Government forces and the Shabbiha,
including the use of sexual violence in detention, the
targeting of family members of opposition fighters, and
the rape of women and girls during house searches and
at checkpoints, which could amount to crimes against
humanity or war crimes.

The commission, in its March update, reported
that those widespread patterns of sexual violations
continued. In one indicative case, between 25 and
60 women were forcibly disembarked from a bus and
detained by Government forces, with multiple accounts
alleging that the women were sexually abused.

The systematic practice of sexual violence in
detention as part of an organized policy against women,
men and even children is also appalling. A 14-year old
boy was threatened with rape during interrogation,
while a 14-year old girl, whose mother had links with
the opposition, was abducted from the streets by four
men, two of whom were in military uniform. The girl
was held captive for days. During interrogation, she
was beaten with electrical wire, given injections and
had cigarettes extinguished on her chest. She was
denied food and water for extended periods of time and
was then raped by four men. On her release, the girl was taken out of the country. Since then, she has tried
to commit suicide three times.

What was those children’s crimes? The boy
could have been our son; the girl could have been our
daughter. We know that war can be brutal, but to fight
it on the bodies of women and children — humiliating
and punishing them and subjecting them to absolute
terror — can never be acceptable.

In response to my briefing to the Security Council
in February, the Syrian Government shared with me,
in a letter, details of some incidents of kidnapping,
sexual violence, torture and other serious human
rights violations carried out by opposition fighters,
as well as information about the arrests of some of
those perpetrators by Syrian security forces. The
International Federation for Human Rights interviewed
a Syrian man who had witnessed the kidnapping of a
young girl by elements of the Free Syrian Army. The
girl was raped and then killed. Her body was thrown in
front of her house, with the blame allegedly attributed
to the Syrian Army. I strongly urge the leadership of
the Free Syrian Army and other armed groups to halt
such violations, to issue clear directives to commanders
throughout their chains of command to prevent sexual
violence, and to hold those who commit, command or
condone such crimes accountable.

I also urge President Al-Assad, in the strongest
terms possible, to ensure that all persons in Government
custody are treated humanely, in accordance with
international human rights and humanitarian law. I
reiterate my call for the Syrian authorities to investigate
all allegations of sexual violence and to hold each and
every perpetrator accountable.

The perpetrators I have referred to know that the
world is watching. They know that the international
community will hold those responsible for such heinous
acts liable. They can misinform and they can lie, but my
message to them is clear: justice may be delayed, but it
will not be denied. We will pursue them by any and all
means, we will find them, and one day bring them to

It is a terrible truth that sexual violence maims the
survivors not only physically, but also psychologically
and socially, with deep and long-lasting consequences.

The stigma that attaches to survivors means that crimes
are rarely reported. Victims face the risk of honour
killings by their family members or of being forcibly
married to their rapists. Survivors feel they would
rather be killed than raped. In fact, many have tried to
commit suicide.

While we work to end conf licts, we must not forget
our obligations to the survivors of sexual violence. They
need support to rebuild their lives, with urgent access
to emergency medical services, including services to
prevent pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted
infections, as well as legal assistance and social
support. The United Nations and non-governmental
organization partners are putting in place services
and referral and coordination mechanisms in some
neighbouring countries, but greater support and more
targeted funding are required. One of the priorities is to
establish medical centres in border areas to address war
injuries, including sexual violence. It is also imperative
that services for survivors be made available and
accessible inside Syria.

As we just heard from my two colleagues, thousands
of people f lee Syria every day to neighbouring countries
in search of safety and protection, but they continue to
be vulnerable. In various refugee camps, a distressing
trend of coerced marriage of young Syrian girls has
emerged, with families seeking to lessen the burden of
dependents on their dwindling resources. However, I
am heartened to note that at least one report from a
camp in Jordan indicates that families are rejecting
marriage offers from outsiders and have chosen to
delay the marriage of their girls in view of the unstable
environment. Allegations of the human trafficking of
young women and girls are also on the rise, while a
severe shortage of medical and psychosocial counselling
services remains.

There are also those in Syria who are less visible
and less heard from, but no less vulnerable — the
Syrians who are uprooted within their country, many of
whom, as we just heard from my colleague, Ms. Amos,
remain out of reach of international assistance and
media attention. What do we know about the human
rights violations that are being perpetrated against
displaced women and children? What measures can we
put in place to prevent and respond to sexual violence
against them?
As I recently saw in Somalia, the insecure nature
of internally displaced person camps and settlements,
the presence of armed men in and around such camps
and the fact that the camp population consists mostly of
single women, female-headed households and widows
means that they are easy prey for sexual violence. It is imperative that the Government allow access for human
rights monitors with a view to reporting, as well as for
service providers to be able to respond to survivors of
sexual violence.

We have watched and we have discussed, and now
it is time to take concrete action. My resolve in fighting
sexual violence in conf lict is strengthened, and I intend
to visit Syria as soon as possible. In my corner, I have
the support of the Security Council and the support,
expressed in a declaration signed last week, of the
Group of Eight. Therefore, on behalf of the survivors, I
once again plead with the members of Security Council
and Governments with inf luence over the parties to
the conf lict to demonstrate their commitment and to
translate their will into results by ending the carnage
and protecting the Syrian people, especially women
and children.

The President: I thank Ms. Bangura for her
I now give the f loor to Ms. Zerrougui.

Ms. Zerrougui: I would like to start by thanking
you, Mr. President, for giving me this opportunity to
speak before the Security Council today. The Syrian
conf lict, now entering its third year, has been a
catastrophe for the civilian population. Children have
suffered most and in the most heartbreaking ways. The
emergency is indeed a children’s crisis. There are now
more than 3 million children inside Syria who have
been affected, of whom almost 2 million are internally
displaced. Additionally, more than 600,000 children
are refugees in the subregion.

Although we can never know the extent of the
violations against children while the conf lict continues
to rage, thousands of children have been killed and
thousands more have been injured and maimed in the
ongoing fighting. Children have been killed in their
homes and in their schools; some have died trying to
reach hospitals or while hiding in shelters. The use of
cluster munitions has resulted in hundreds of children
losing hands, arms or legs. Also of concern is the fact
that children in need of urgent medical care are often not
able to gain access to adequate medical assistance. Well
over half of Syria’s health facilities are either damaged
or cannot safely be reached, and approximately 40 per
cent of hospitals are inoperative. Many children have
recounted experiences of days spent in makeshift
hospitals and travelling under extreme conditions to reach hospitals in safe areas or in neighbouring

Since the beginning of the conf lict, the education
system has been deeply impacted, with many schools
being occupied by warring parties, damaged or
destroyed. In addition, we are receiving reports of
teachers being killed, threatened and forced to f lee.

Recent figures show that an estimated 2,500 schools
are damaged or destroyed, while approximately 2,000
are being used as shelters for internally displaced
persons (IDPs). In certain areas, children have not
been to school in more than 18 months. In the Aleppo
governorate, school attendance has dropped to 6 per
cent. Girls’ attendance has been particularly affected
by the insecurity. Future generations of Syrians are
being denied the right to learn in peace.

As previously noted, refugee children inside Syria
are in a difficult position. Palestinian and other refugee
children have been killed or forced to f lee their homes
and to live in need in IDP shelters. Only 35 per cent of
Palestinian children have access to schools today, and
many have f led to neighbouring countries out of fear
for their safety. When I visited Damascus in December
of last year, I met many Palestinian IDP children in
Yarmouk Camp who were living in dire circumstances.

Today, the security situation in Yarmouk is precarious,
and I cannot help but think about those children and the
fear and anxiety they and their families must live with
each day.

In the current conf lict, with no end in sight,
children are becoming increasingly vulnerable to
recruitment and use, both direct and indirect, by all
parties to the conf lict. My Office has been gathering
information about the use of children as young as
10 years of age in various ways, such as porters,
messengers and combatants, by opposition groups. My
Office also received information regarding the use of
children as human shields by Government forces. I call
on all parties to take immediate measures to halt any
association of children.

The disproportionate use of force and the fact
that combat is largely taking place in civilian areas,
without any precautionary measures and with the
use of indiscriminate weapons, are having serious
effects on the child victims of bombardment and
other violence, but also on the wider societal fabric
that protects children, their families and caregivers. I
personally witnessed the extreme levels of destruction in civilian areas in Homs and Rif Damascus during
my recent visit. Additionally, the impact of high levels
of violence on all children in Syria is serious and will
have a long-term effect for the future of the country.

When I last visited, all of the children and families with
whom I spoke recounted horrific stories of death and
destruction — a cycle of violence with no end.

I am here not only to brief the Council on the terrible
impact that the conf lict is having on the children of
Syria, but to implore it to do more to make all parties
take up their responsibilities to protect the children
of Syria. My colleagues have explained in detail the
ever-smaller space afforded to the United Nations and
its partners to provide life-saving assistance. But we
continue to strive to do what is necessary and what we
can in those dire circumstances. I have held discussions
with both the Government and the opposition forces
and have received commitments from both sides, but
the space to act on those commitments is shrinking. In
particular, I would like to ask the Council to remind
all parties of their responsibilities to prevent violations
against children during conf lict and to issue public

The Government should commit to take all the
necessary precautions during combat to prevent child
death and injury, avoid the use of heavy weaponry in
civilian areas and cease immediately its use of human
shields and investigate all allegations in that regard.

In addition, it must ensure the safety of all health and
education facilities in areas it controls.

The opposition forces should fulfil their
commitments to respect applicable international
humanitarian law and, in particular, engage with the
United Nations on their commitment to address the
issue of children among their ranks.

The urgent action of the Council on behalf of those
children cannot wait another day, as each day is at the
cost of countless lives.

The President: I nowt give the f loor to the
representative of the Syrian Arab Republic.

Mr. Ja’afari (Syrian Arab Republic) (spoke in
): At the outset, I would like to thank you, Sir,
for successfully managing the work of the Security
Council this month. By the same token, I would also
like to thank the ladies and the gentleman who briefed
us at this meeting.
Today, the Syrian people are celebrating the
sixty-seventh anniversary of Syria’s independence
from French colonizers. I take this opportunity at the
Security Council table to salute the soul of the first
martyr who fell in the fight against the colonizer, who
was then the Minister for Defence, Yousef Al-Azmeh. I
would like to assure him that the legacy he entrusted to
the Syrian people is in capable hands.

The people of my homeland, Syria, oppose
occupation and reject dominance and subjugation, as
everybody knows. Anyone who may think, even for
a moment, of turning back the clock is delusional,
because the people of Syria, who have thousands of
years of history, will not allow anyone — however great
or mighty, working openly or covertly, old or new, near
or far — to threaten their sovereignty, dignity, political
independence and national unity. Although there are
some differences in the way Syrian citizens love their
homeland, they are all determined to stand united in
the face of any attempt to undermine Syria’s dignity, its
political independence and its well-established national

Allow me to thank Ms. Valerie Amos, Ms. Margaret
Chan, Ms. Ertharin Cousin, Mr. Antonio Guterres and
Mr. Anthony Lake for the appeal they issued on behalf
of the United Nations in the New York Times on 15 April.

We applaud the humanitarian feeling they expressed
towards Syria and its people. We would have wished that
their appeal had touched upon the core issues causing
the suffering of the Syrian people and addressed the
state of the unilateral, coercive and illegal measures
imposed on them. We would also have wished that it
had mentioned what Syrians are experiencing in terms
of the dangers, challenges and threats stemming from
the spread of international terrorism on Syrian territory
and the impact of that indiscriminate terrorism, as
illustrated by the mass killing, displacement and
destruction of not only infrastructure and human beings,
but of all that Syria represents in the region, namely,
coexistence, social harmony, religious tolerance and
cultural and ethnic diversity. Syria has a balancing role
to play in a volatile and sensitive area of the world. The
region’s many assets are being trampled by the bloody
conf luence of Arabs who live in an era of ignorance and
Israel’s interests and its protectors.

The crisis in Syria has revealed serious f laws in the
system of international relations and the mechanisms
for applying the principles of international law and
the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.

All the challenges and risks faced by Syria are being
considered in a manner riddled with unprecedented
double standards and scandalous political hypocrisy.

There is no longer any doubt that the mechanisms of
so-called international action function in a selective
manner. The indiscriminate terrorism that is battering
my country finds zealous supporters here among us:
those who are working to give it legitimacy in the
media, as well as politically and diplomatically. They
give legitimacy to that terrorism as part of a movement
in my country, while they claim to be fighting the same
terrorism in Mali, the African Sahel and Libya.

There are also those who defend and seek to give
legal status to the economic blockade that is stif ling
my country’s capabilities and undermining the living
conditions of its people, while at the same time the
European Union is discussing purchasing Syrian oil,
which rightfully belongs to the Syrian people, from
the terrorist groups that control certain oil wells in
Syria. I would like to take this opportunity to say that
the Government of Syria will bring before the Council
all those who finance terrorism in my country, either
by purchasing stolen oil from terrorist groups or in
any other manner. Our charge against them will be
financing terrorism rather than eliminating it.

We therefore wish to say today that there is no
justification for any Western Government to ignore
the terrorists among its citizens crossing international
borders into Syria and actively participating in the
shedding of Syrian blood. After today, the Syrian
people will not forgive those who have facilitated the
movement of thousands of European and other Western
terrorists and jihadists, who are sponsored by wellknown
intelligence agencies, across the borders of
dozens of countries — from Australia to the United
States of America — with the ultimate goal of reaching
the Turkish, Lebanese and Jordanian borders with Syria,
where they are sheltered and accommodated in training
camps and then enter my country and spread destruction
and sabotage and shed innocent blood. We also cannot
forget the Israeli partnership with Salafist, Takfiri and
terrorist groups, which enables those armed groups to
cross the separation line into the occupied Syrian Golan
and to have their wounded treated in Israeli hospitals
before returning them to Syrian territory, once again
across the separation line.

Those States and parties, through the actions I
just mentioned, seek to have their illegal and immoral
actions damage the sovereignty, role and status of Syria
in the United Nations. Legal and political scholars
may have plenty of time to study the case of Syria, a
founding State Member of the United Nations, and what
it was subjected to at the hands of political wheelers and

My Government emphasizes its commitment to its
obligations towards the United Nations in accordance
with the 2013 humanitarian response plan, which
helped deliver humanitarian assistance to various
regions of Syria, including the A’zaz area, which is
approximately 1 kilometre from the Turkish border. We
are undertaking such actions with the United Nations
within the framework of General Assembly resolution

The ability of the Syrian Government to fully
comply with the humanitarian response plan has been
hampered by poor funding and the conditions imposed.

The commitments announced by donors in the media,
including those undertaken at the Kuwait meeting
held in January and at a number of other international
forums, remain unfulfilled. We all know that the Office
for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has
received only 34 per cent of the requisite funding. That
confirms what we have said many times before, namely,
that those pledges are nothing but media propaganda
promoted by crisis mongers and those who spread lies.

In response to the cooperation of the Syrian
Government, there are parties, known to everyone,
who shamelessly insist on contributing to sustaining
the cycle of violence in my country through support
to terrorist groups affiliated with Al-Qaida, which
is a clear threat to peace and security in Syria, the
region and the world. Many reports indicate that some
Governments’ consciences have been bought off by
petrodollars and that they have opened their borders
to the passage of weapons to be delivered to groups
responsible for indiscriminate acts of terrorism in my
country. Those weapons are purchased by Qatari and
Saudi petrodollars from several sources, which are well
known to everyone, and smuggled to this day across
the borders of some of Syria’s neighbouring countries
from Libyan arms depots, according to the final
report (S/2012/163) of the Panel of Experts on Libya
established pursuant to resolution 1973 (2011). I have
a copy of that report with me here, which refers to the
smuggling of weapons from Libya and other places,
with financing from the United Arab Emirates, Qatar
and Saudi Arabia. This is not a report prepared by my
Government, but by the Council’s own experts.

I would like to emphasize the exclusive responsibility
of the Syrian Government for protecting its citizens,
in accordance with the principles of international
law and in a manner that safeguards its sovereignty,
independence and territorial integrity and restores its
constructive leadership role on the international stage.

The crude and excessively compliant and
aggressive propaganda that some Governments are
seeking to promote is intended to justify their attempts
to interfere in Syria’s domestic affairs — in breach of
Syria’s sovereignty — on pretexts such as humanitarian
intervention, imposing no-f ly zones, establishing
safe humanitarian corridors and the concept of the
responsibility to protect.

Some States hosting Syrian refugees seek to
exacerbate the Syrian refugee crisis by preventing
them from returning to their homeland and are trading
on their suffering, despite the repeated and continued
requests of the Syrian Government to the Governments
of those States to allow Syrians who want to return to
their homes to do so.

With regard to sexual violence, I would like to
recall the statement that I delivered on behalf of my
country to the Security Council yesterday, 17 April (see
S/PV.6948). I should like to add that, throughout its
history, Syria has never witnessed such heinous crimes
as those being perpetrated today by jihadist thugs
and bandits. Women in Syria used to take pride in the
secure and safe environment provided to them to play
their natural role in society. Syria used to rank third
in the world in terms of safety. However, the complex
phenomenon of sabotage has entered Syrian society and
has destroyed that way of life in Syria. Armed terrorist
groups with Wahhabi, Salafist and Takfiri ideologies
imported from petrodollar Gulf countries entered from
neighbouring countries. Such groups, backed by the
extensive financial, intelligence, military and media
support and weapons provided by certain Arabs from
a bygone era of ignorance and Western collusion, in
partnership with Israel, have worked deliberately and
systematically to sabotage the security and safety of
Syrians, including women and children.

Dozens of political and media reports, as well as the
testimonies of well-known non-governmental groups,
have shown that armed terrorist groups have resorted to
recruiting children into their ranks. They force them to
take up arms, participate in terrorist acts and carry out
the orders of the leaders of the armed groups in order to perpetrate acts of murder and sabotage against public
and private property. That is in addition to the burning,
looting and destruction of more than 3,000 schools and
kindergartens and dozens of hospitals and hundreds of
laboratories — 1,500 laboratories, in fact, in Idlib and
Halab, have been displaced to Turkey — about which
we have sent an official complaint to the Council. That
represents a blatant attack on the rights of an entire
generation of children to the education and knowledge
that will enable them to help build the country in the

During the deliberate attacks by terrorist armed
groups on educational institutions and teachers in
Syria, there have been documented cases of people
being directly and indirectly threatened and prevented
from sending their children to school, owing to terrorist
groups bombing schools with improvised explosive
devices or deliberately targeting schools with missiles.

Those incidents were repeated at the start of the school
year in Syria.

The Syrian Arab Republic has respected its
obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the
Child and its Optional Protocol on the involvement of
children in armed conf lict since 2003.

Regrettably, no speakers have mentioned the
terrorist suicide bombings that have frequently struck
Syrian cities. They have not talked about the attack on
Halab University and the killing of the engineering and
architecture students in Damascus. All those incidents
were not carried out by ghosts; they were undertaken by
terrorist groups financed and supported by foreigners
and trained abroad. There are no ghosts carrying out
terrorist acts in Syria.

While States continue to strengthen their societies
on the basis of diversity, pluralism, harmony and true
citizenship, we see strong, subversive Powers seeking
to shatter the social contract in our region, which
is famous for its diversity, richness and plurality, by
promoting a culture of religious, sectarian and factional
divisions and encouraging the concept of slaughtering
people on the basis of their identity. Such Powers seek
to displace significant parts of our societies outside
their homeland. There is no Christian member of Iraqi
society in Iraq, or any Christian in Palestine. The
conspirators against my country are about to succeed
in removing our Christian citizens.

Such matters are extremely important in the work
of the Security Council. Hundreds of churches in Syria have been burned, as well as in Iraq and other places.

Hundreds of mosques have been destroyed. All those
acts exist on the YouTube terrorist archive. Some accuse
the Government of such heinous acts.

In that connection, I wish to emphasize that Syria
will not allow another Sykes-Picot Agreement at the
expense of the peoples of our region. Syria will remain
the strongest link in dealing with any attempt to impose
any new reality that is foreign to our region and its
peoples, who have lived in harmony and coexistence
with one another for centuries and have taught
humankind that belonging to a homeland and respecting
one’s land are the greatest and most enduring emotions.

In conclusion, I would like to say that enough is
enough. After two years of trading on the fate of Syria
and the blood of its citizens, there must be sincere
action to help my country, people and Government to
move forward towards the political solution endorsed
by the United Nations in resolutions 2042 (2012) and
2043 (2012) and approved in the Geneva communiqué
(S/2012/522, annex). My Government insists on the
implementation of that political solution through a
Syrian-led inclusive national dialogue in which all
Syrian people are represented. Such a dialogue will echo
their voices internally, regionally and internationally,
telling the entire world that enough is enough and to
stop manipulating a country whose citizens have only
shown goodness and love for all citizens of the world
throughout their history.

A year ago, I addressed the Counter-Terrorism
Committee and drew the Council’s attention to the
existence of Al-Qaida terrorism in Syria, but no one
paid heed. Today, however, we have heard that there will
be cooperation between Al-Qaida in Iraq and Al-Qaida
in Syria. What we said a year ago was correct, and our
reading of the political map was also correct.

Mr. Guterres, thankfully, stated that the crisis in
Syria is not humanitarian in the main. That is true; the
crisis in Syria is a humanitarian and political crisis
in the main. Unless we deal with the main political
dimension of the crisis, we will not be able to assist
the Syrian people at the humanitarian level. Yes, there
is a humanitarian crisis in Syria; we have mentioned
that time and again. However, we need a correct legal
reading of what is transpiring in the country, one that
will put an end to the arrogance of and violations of
international law by certain Powers that are very well
known to all.

The smuggling of weapons was reported to the
Security Council over a period of more than a year and
a half. Those weapons, transported on ships from Libya
via Lebanon and Turkey, were confiscated, and the
information was submitted to the Council, but no one
lifted a finger. Billions of dollars are spent on financing
terrorism by means of the Gulf petrodollar, with
everyone’s knowledge. Weapons are being purchased
in Croatia, financed by Saudi Arabia, transported
to Jordan and then, via Turkey, to Syria. But no one
responds. We are talking about the excruciating
suffering of children and women here, and that is
important and significant. We hope that the crisis will
cease and that all criminals — Syrian and non-Syrian
alike — will be brought to justice.

What about those who spend billions of dollars on
funding terrorism? What about the resolution, adopted
by the so-called League of Arab States, financing
terrorism — a resolution adopted by an Arab summit
to finance terrorism. The League pretends that it has a
special envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, pursuing a peaceful
solution. How can he pursue a peaceful solution while
the Arab League is financing terrorism in Syria?
I wish to make one more comment, and I apologize
for taking so long.

Two days ago I was watching Al-Arabiya, the Saudi
channel. The channel hosted a terrorist who leads an
Islamist group affiliated with Al-Qaida. It hosted that
terrorist from Istanbul and held a dialogue with him
from there. When the journalist asked him, “What will
you do with the minorities in Syria if you take over?”
He responded: “We will judge them according to the
sharia”. When asked what he meant by that, he said
that “the individuals belonging to those minorities can
either join Islam and pay a tax, or we will kill them with
a sword”. That terrorist, located in Istanbul, was hosted
by the Saudi Al-Arabiya channel. Many people watched
him; many innocent people in Libya and Tunisia, who
come to Syria to kill and be killed, watched him. That is
the right image of what is going on in Syria, and I leave
it to the Council for its kind attention and consideration.

The President: I now give the f loor to the
representative of Lebanon.

Mr. Salam (Lebanon) (spoke in Arabic): I should
like at the outset, Mr. President, to congratulate you
on your assumption of the presidency of the Council
and on its work during the month of April. I am fully
confident that, given the crisis and the suffering that your country, Rwanda, has known during its
contemporary history, you more than anyone are aware
of the human tragedy that is being experienced by the
brotherly Syrian people.

I should like to express my thanks to Ms. Valerie
Amos, Mr. António Guterres, Ms. Zainab Hawa
Bangura and Ms. Leila Zerrougui for their respective
important briefings.

Two years have passed since the crisis began
in Syria, and the painful figures mentioned by the
representative of the United Nations and its various
organizations speak not only to the magnitude of
that humanitarian disaster, but also to the inability
of the international community to take the measures
necessary to put an end to the cycle of violence and the
intensifying massacres, as well as to the violations of
human rights and the targeting of civilians going about
their daily life. It is the responsibility of the Council
and of the United Nations to ensure that the suffering of
those people is recognized. The brotherly Syrian people
– men, women, children and the elderly, wherever they
may be – are always under the threat of bombings,
or they have been displaced or become refugees in
neighbouring countries. All of them deserve a better
life that will meet their aspirations and hopes - a life in
which their dignity and aspirations are respected.

From the Council, Lebanon has consistently
reiterated its firm principled position of support for
the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, as
well as Lebanon’s policy of distancing, which is aimed
at preserving unity and stability. That policy, which
has received support at the national and international
levels, does not represent a distancing by Lebanon from
the Syrian people in their humanitarian crisis. As the
Minister for Social Affairs of Lebanon said last August
in the Council (see S/PV.6826), Lebanon has never
distanced itself from international law or international
legality. It has also remained faithful to the historical,
geographical and neighbourly ties between the
Lebanese and the Syrian peoples. Lebanon has not
forgotten that the Syrian people hosted hundreds of
thousands of Lebanese refugees during the barbaric
Israeli aggression against Lebanon during the July
2006 war.

As the Council is aware, the number of Syrian
refugees in Lebanon who have been registered or
who have received aid from the Office of the High
Commissioner for Refugees is approximately 416,000 up until 12 April of this year. That number does not
include the tens of thousands who have not asked to be
registered with the Office of the High Commissioner.

According to statistics from the United Nations Relief
and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near
East, by 31 March, more than 35,000 Palestinian
displaced persons had come to Lebanon from Syria,
with more than 3,000 refugees arriving every day. We
expect that figure to reach 1.2 million before the end of
the year. Furthermore, the number of people affected
by that movement of people — combining Syrians,
Palestinians and Lebanese returning from Syria,
in addition to Lebanese host families — will reach
2.5 million before the end of the year.

According to United Nations agency statistics,
approximately 34.8 per cent of those refugees have
special needs, with 22.9 per cent of them being children
in a precarious situation and approximately 10 per
cent having serious medical conditions — bearing in
mind that about half of the refugees in Lebanon and its
neighbouring countries are children and young people.

We and others have ceaselessly issued warnings
about the impact of the unending crisis, not only on
Syria but also on neighbouring countries. We are now
seeing the impact of the fighting in Syria, which has
reached military dimensions, reaching the borders
of Lebanon, which is threatening the security of my
country. We condemn such violations, whatever their
origin or whatever the reason for them.

With regard to the impact of the serious issue of
refugees arising from the crisis, it has begun to affect
Lebanese society and its composition. It is also having
a substantial socioeconomic and security impact, given
that the majority of refugees live in the poorest areas
of my country. As a result, there is growing pressure
on the labour market and more demand for basic
resources, such as food, with the concomitant inf lation
and increases in housing costs that entails.

Let me reiterate today that Lebanon will never
close its borders to anyone, individuals or families,
who, f leeing the horrors of violence and destruction,
come to seek refuge in our country. We will not send
anyone back who comes to us.

Lebanon remains committed to providing
assistance to all refugees from Syria and to seeing
to all their essential needs in terms of protection,
shelter, food, health care and education. But it is the
right of Lebanon to ask neighbouring States and the international community to share the burden, given that
ours is the smallest country in terms of size and the one
with the least resources, even though we are the country
receiving the greatest number of Syrian refugees. That
number will very soon reach almost a quarter of the
Lebanese population, which is the highest reception
rate of all the countries hosting refugees.

The truth, as witnessed by representatives of the
United Nations and its agencies, is that Lebanon will
not be able to provide the necessary care to refugees
if the numbers keep growing as they are now, whether
the refugees be Syrians, Palestinians or even Lebanese
returning from Syria. Lebanon will not be able to cope
without an increase in assistance from the international

Among those who have spoken out on this situation
is the regional representative of the High Commissioner
for Refugees, Ms. Ninette Kelley, who, earlier this
month, said, with regard to assistance,
“The plans are in place, the staff is ready, but the
funds are drying up. At this level of funding, vital
programmes to ensure food, clean water, schooling
for children, health care and shelter for newly
arrived refugees are simply impossible”.

Furthermore, Mr. Étienne Labande, head of country
operations for the World Food Programme in Lebanon,
said that “In one month, and with the current funding,
more than 400,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon will no
longer receive food assistance”.

Mr. António Guterres, the High Commissioner
for Refugees, who has joined our meeting today, aptly
summed up the situation when he said,
(spoke in English)
“Lebanon needs massive support; it cannot do it
(spoke in Arabic)
Allow me to reiterate the call addressed by the
President of Lebanon, Mr. Michel Sleiman, to the Doha
summit last month on the holding of an international
conference on Syrian refugees. He said that the
conference should not simply collect donations that
had been pledged at the earlier Kuwait conference,
but should work towards finding a way of sharing the
burden of costs in accordance with the principle of
shared responsibility, in order to reduce the negative
impact of the refugee f low on internal and regional peace and security. Lebanon’s President reiterated
that message at the beginning of this month, when he
encouraged the creation of camps on Syrian territory far
away from the combat zones and under the protection
of the United Nations. We urge the Council to look into
that possibility.

Finally, Lebanon would like to join its voice
to those of United Nations officials — Ms. Valerie
Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian
Affairs; Ms. Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of
the World Food Programme; Mr. António Guterres,
High Commissioner for Refugees; Mr. Anthony Lake,
Executive Director of UNICEF; and Ms. Margaret Chan,
Director-General of the World Health Organization — in
exhorting the Council to take action,
(spoke in English)
“In the name of all those who have so suffered, and
the many more whose futures hang in the balance:
Enough! Summon and use your inf luence, now, to
save the Syrian people and save the region from
The President: I now give the f loor to the
representative of Turkey.

Mr. Çevik (Turkey): At the outset, allow me to
thank you, Mr. President, for organizing this briefing,
which gives us an opportunity to draw the attention of
the international community once again to the gravity
of the humanitarian situation in Syria. We followed
with great concern the presentations made by the chiefs
of the key United Nations humanitarian agencies.

The Syrian people’s quest for a democratic and
free Syria has completed its second year, while the
Syrian regime continues to indiscriminately target its
own people by every possible means, including the use
of ballistic missiles. The ongoing assault is not only
taking many lives but also destroying the historic and
cultural heritage and economic infrastructure of Syria.

The humanitarian situation in Syria is deteriorating
day by day. According to recent figures from the United
Nations, the number of refugees has reached 1.3 million,
with 4.5 million internally displaced persons and
6 million in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees estimates that the number of refugees
could reach 3.5 million by the end of the year if the
international community fails to act urgently.

The international community has a moral
responsibility to support the Syrian people in their
struggle, and that has to be done urgently, collectively
and decisively in the face of a deteriorating humanitarian
situation, which continues to promote a serious threat
to regional peace and stability.

The joint appeal by the leaders of the United
Nations humanitarian agencies this week is a serious
wake-up call to the international community, and yet
another reminder of the need to revisit the strategies in
seeking to address the crisis. It was a call to everyone
to start thinking outside the box and to act immediately
for an effective strategy to save the Syrian people and
the region from a catastrophe.

We continue to believe that the best way to end this
bloodshed is through a political solution and transition,
while preserving the territorial integrity and political
unity of Syria. The international community, in
particular the United Nations, has a crucial role to play
in that. However, pending such a solution, we should
be realistic and results-oriented in addressing the
humanitarian dimension — the primary consequence
of the political crisis.

We in Turkey are devoting our utmost efforts to
responding to the ramifications of the Syrian crisis.

We are now hosting more than 190,000 Syrians in
17 camps, in addition to at least 100,000 people who
found their way to various Turkish cities and towns. We
are doing our best to meet their everyday needs in all
areas, including those related to health and education.

Furthermore, the Turkish Red Crescent is delivering
humanitarian relief at the zero point of the border
with Syria, with transparency in conformity with
international legitimacy and humanitarian principles.

The average number of refugees crossing into
neighbouring countries on a daily basis has reached
8,000, and up to 14,000 on days of intense fighting.

Until six months ago, that number was a couple of

Cross-line assistance is becoming increasingly
complicated, while certain humanitarian goods, such
as surgical supplies, are extensively blocked by the
regime. That irresponsible policy will only lead to
further outf lows of refugees. The Council needs to
consider alternative forms of aid delivery, including
cross-border operations.

Neighbouring countries cannot and should not
be asked to face the pressing challenges alone. The
situation is no longer sustainable, and the existing
methodology is not working to realize the principles
of full, unimpeded and safe humanitarian access.

The international community, from the perspective of
burden-sharing, must take collective action. Pledging
financial support is not sufficient in itself.

We are of the view that it is high time for the
international community to discuss unexplored
ways and means to address the problem of internally
displaced persons within Syrian territory and to find
alternative destinations for those who still choose to
leave because they feel insecure.

That call has been echoed by many eminent regional
leaders who feel the same pressure. It is high time that
those legitimate concerns were taken into consideration
by the international community, and certainly by the
United Nations. Otherwise, we may find ourselves in
a crisis scenario much larger that what we have been
struggling with to date.

Let me conclude by expressing once again our
support for the Syrian people’s legitimate aspirations to
live in dignity, as well as our determination to continue
doing our utmost in responding to the humanitarian
crisis just across our border. We would also like to
remind the international community of its obligation to
act urgently, decisively and responsibly before it is too

We regret to see the use of the Security Council
f loor for the dissemination of inaccurate and misleading
information. The Council and, through the media, the
international community have surely heard the coherent
views of the participants regarding the policies of the
Syrian regime. The facts provided cannot be blurred by
one futile attempt to argue otherwise.

Turkey will continue to show solidarity with the
Syrian people, whose views cannot be heard at this

The President: There are no more names inscribed
on the list of speakers. I now invite the Council members
to informal consultations to continue our discussion on
the subject.

The meeting rose at 12.10 p.m.