13 Years On, Syria’s War Requires Political Solution, Sustained Aid, End to Impunity, Secretary-General Says, Stressing Entire Generation ‘Already Paid Too High a Price’

The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres:

The month of March marks another grim anniversary of conflict, systematic atrocities, and untold suffering in Syria.

For 13 years now Syrians have endured unprecedented devastation and displacement, gross and systematic violations and breaches of international law, while their demands for truth, justice and accountability remained elusive.

Today, more people than at any point in the war — three out of every four — need humanitarian aid.  More than half the population suffers from hunger.  Entire communities are struggling to survive, as humanitarian funding has dropped to an all-time low.  Roughly half the pre-war population remains displaced inside or outside Syria. Arbitrary detention, mass incarceration, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, sexual and gender-based violence, torture and other ill-treatment continue and are an obstacle to sustainable peace in Syria.

We all have a responsibility to end impunity.  Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Syrian victims, survivors and their family members count on it.  We also highlight the important work of the Independent Institution on Missing Persons established by the General Assembly.  We must do all that is necessary to reach a genuine and credible political solution that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people, restores the sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity of Syria in accordance with Security Council resolution 2254 (2015) and create the conditions necessary for the voluntary return of refugees in safety and dignity.

We need a negotiated political solution.  We need civilians and civilian infrastructure to be protected.  We need a cooperative and strategic approach to counter-terrorism conducted in line with international law, including international human rights and international humanitarian law.  We need sustained and unhindered humanitarian access throughout the country, through all modalities.  We need urgent and adequate funding to sustain our life-saving operations, including early recovery.

It is long past time for key parties to step up and meet these needs.  An entire generation of Syrians has already paid too high a price.

For information media. Not an official record.