I am writing on behalf of France, the United Kingdom and the United States in advance of your forthcoming report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2401 (2018). France, the United Kingdom and the United States express their concern at the repeated reports of incidents inconsistent with that resolution by the Syrian regime and its allies.

In resolution 2401 (2018), the Security Council demanded that “all parties cease hostilities without delay, and engage immediately to ensure full and comprehensive implementation of this demand by all parties, for a durable humanitarian pause for at least 30 consecutive days throughout Syria, to enable the safe, unimpeded and sustained delivery of humanitarian aid and services and medical evacuations of the critically sick and wounded, in accordance with applicable international law”.

Between the adoption of Security Council resolution 2401 (2018) and 27 February, there were 72 reported incidents of violence by the Syrian regime and its allies. Attacks reportedly involved shelling, surface-to-surface missiles, napalm, heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and barrel bombs in more than 14 locations across the enclave of eastern Ghutah. There continue to be reports of chemical weapon use. Such brutal attacks continue to kill hundreds of civilians, have caused massive damage to hospitals, residences and other civilian property, and are cruelly exacerbating the suffering of the civilian population.

According to United States sources, between 24 and 28 February, Russian military aircraft conducted at least 20 daily bombing missions in Damascus and eastern Ghutah.

Airstrikes have even continued during the hours of the so-called humanitarian pauses announced by Russia: between 27 February and 2 March, monitors on the ground documented at least 25 airstrikes by the regime or Russia during the five-hour pauses. At least 25 medical facilities have reportedly been attacked since 18 February.

As of 8 March, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 399 people, including 54 children and 45 women, are reported to have been killed since the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2401 (2018).

This deplorable situation is exacerbated by the continued inability of the United Nations and its partners to provide sufficient humanitarian assistance to the besieged population in eastern Ghutah. Only one humanitarian convoy has entered eastern Ghutah since the adoption of resolution 2401 (2018). On 5 March, a United Nations and inter-agency convoy entered Duma with health and nutritional supplies, along with food for 27,500 people in need; however, nearly 70 per cent of the medical supplies that had been loaded onto the convoy were removed by the Syrian security authorities. Vitally needed items, including all trauma kits, surgical supplies, items needed for dialysis sessions, and insulin, were removed. Furthermore, according to the United Nations, 14 of 46 trucks were unable to fully offload critical humanitarian supplies owing to violence in the area. Even if those supplies had been delivered, they would have satisfied the needs of only a fraction of the hundreds of thousands in need in the area. Nearly half of the food carried on the convoy could therefore not be delivered. Despite the specific call for the safe evacuation of the critically sick and wounded, no evacuations have taken place since February 24.

In addition, on 26 February, representatives of Jaysh al-Islam, Faylaq al Rahman, Ahrar al-Sham, and activist groups in eastern Ghutah wrote to the Secretary-General expressing their full support for resolution 2401 (2018). The letter contained further details of the commitment of those groups to support all aspects of the implementation of resolution 2401 (2018). Despite this, there has been no meaningful attempt by the regime to engage.

The Governments of France, the United Kingdom and the United States continue to call on all parties, in particular the Syrian authorities, to implement the provisions of resolution 2401 (2018).