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Statement of H. E. Bassam Sabbagh at the Security Council on the "Humanitarian Sitiation" in Syria

Friday, 20 May 2022
Ambassador Bassam Sabbagh
Security Council

Madam President,

I would like to begin my statement by referring to an exceptional and extremely important development, which is the presidential amnesty granted by the president of the Syrian Arab Republic, under Legislative Decree No. (7) of April 30, 2022 by. According to this decree, a general amnesty is granted for terrorist crimes committed by Syrians prior to the date of its issuance, except for those crimes that led to the death of a human being, as stipulated in the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Syrian Penal Code. We emphasize here that this decree excludes foreign terrorists and their countries of origin remain responsible to repatriate them and their families from Syria.

The issuance of this exceptional decree, by its legal, social, and political nature, comes within the framework of the measures that the Syrian state has been taking for years to improve the humanitarian situation in Syria, consolidate national reconciliation and deepen the values of tolerance, provide appropriate conditions for the return of displaced persons and refugees to their homeland, reintegrate all Syrian citizens into their local communities, and restore security and stability in the Syrian Arab Republic.

The Ministry of Justice, and the competent legal and judicial authorities in Syria began -immediately after this decree- implementing its provisions throughout the country by releasing large batches of detainees, and canceling all warrants for prosecution, search, arrest, and summons in absentia, and judicial decisions in absentia issued against any Syrian citizen inside or outside the country, effective immediately, and without the need to go back to any judicial, legal or security authority.

I recall here that since 2011 until today, the President of the Syrian Arab Republic has granted twenty general amnesties, benefiting tens of thousands of Syrian citizens inside and outside the country, as (28,864) detainees were released by the Court in charge of terrorist crimes. More than (272,000) Syrian citizens have also been involved in the processes of settlement and national reconciliations in the various Syrian governorates, which enabled them to return to their normal lives.

The government of the Syrian Arab Republic calls for an objective and balanced consideration of the steps it has taken and urges some countries to abandon their wrong policies and adopt a positive and constructive political approach, through responsible engagement with the Syrian government, that refrains from any political considerations that are inconsistent with the interests, security and well-being of the Syrians.

Madam President,

The efforts made by the Syrian government to achieve economic and social stability and improve the living conditions of the Syrians clash with the persistence of some Western countries and their allies in their hostile practices and continuous violations of the principles of international law and the provisions of the UN Charter. This is reflected in the continued illegal foreign military presence of the Turkish and US forces on Syrian territory, their sponsorship of terrorist organizations and separatist militias, the looting of national wealth, including oil, gas and agricultural crops, not to mention the economic terrorism resulted by imposing unilateral coercive measures on the Syrian people.

The recent decision of the US administration regarding granting a license for economic activities in specific areas in northeastern and northwestern Syria controlled by separatist militias and terrorist organizations represents direct support by the US administration to these illegal entities, and a flagrant violation of the sovereignty, independence, unity of people and territory of the Syrian Arab Republic, and a grave breach of the relevant security council resolutions, in an effort to impose an illegitimate situation and a discriminatory approach against Syrian citizens based on supporting those who are loyal to it and subject to its influence while punishing the residents of the areas under the control of the Syrian state.

On the other hand, this month we witnessed the holding of a replica of the so-called "Brussels Conference to Support the Future of Syria and the Region". Holding this conference in light of the continued exclusion of the Syrian government from its work, and barring Russia’s participation, and its loss of UN sponsorship, means that it has become a gathering of Western countries known for their politicization of humanitarian issues and their deviation from the internationally agreed guiding principles for humanitarian action.

These conferences are nothing but a smokescreen launched by the organizers of this event to cover up their practices against my country, at a time when they are imposing collective punishment and a stifling inhuman blockade on the Syrian people, depriving every Syrian of access to their basic living needs, in addition to their insistence on linking humanitarian and development work with politicized conditions that hinders the implementation of resilience and early recovery projects, and the rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure that allows for the dignified, voluntary and safe return of refugees and displaced persons!

Madam President,

     Those aggressive policies against my country were accompanied by direct military aggression carried out by the Israeli occupation forces on Syrian territory, the latest of which was the firing of missiles at some parts of the central region on the evening of Friday, May 13, 2022. This aggression resulted in the loss of five, including one civilian, and wounding seven citizens including a child, heavy material losses and the outbreak of several fires in the forests of Masyaf countryside.

This Israeli aggression coincided with a terrorist attack launched by terrorist organizations in northwestern Syria against units of the Syrian Arab Army, which led to the loss of ten soldiers and the wounding of others. This confirms once again the continuous coordination between the Israeli occupation authorities and their terrorist tools.

The Government of the Syrian Arab Republic has informed the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the members of the Security Council of these attacks and demanded them to assume their responsibilities to put an end to the repeated Israeli attacks that seriously threaten regional and international peace and security.

Madam President,

    My country facilitated the passage of a fourth UN convoy at the beginning of this week from Aleppo to northwest Syria, which included 14 trucks of humanitarian aid, and it is looking forward to enhancing crossline aid delivery and removing the obstacles imposed by the Turkish regime and its terrorist organizations. Syria also reiterates its position regarding the so-called "cross-border aid mechanism" in view of the continuous violation of Syria's sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and the grave defects it has which some constantly try to cover up.

 Syria stresses that ending the illegal foreign military presence, the immediate and unconditional lifting of unilateral coercive measures, and increasing early recovery and development projects quantitatively and qualitatively is the only way to improve the humanitarian situation in Syria, achieve sustainable development goals, and ensure that my country is not left behind.

Thank you, Madam President.