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Statement of H.E. Ambassador Bassam Sabbagh at the Security Council on the "Political & Humanitarian Situation" in Syria

Wednesday, 27 October 2021
Ambassador Bassam Sabbagh
Security Council

We listened closely to the briefings provided by Mr. Geir Pedersen and Mr. Martin Griffiths. I should like to make the following remarks.

The meetings of the sixth session of the Constitutional Committee, held last week in Geneva, illustrated serious engagement on the part of the national team, which exhibited a spirit of cooperation and a positive attitude. They sought to put forward constitutional principles that responded to the aspirations, rights and ambitions of the Syrian people to safeguard national sovereignty, independence, security, stability and socioeconomic well-being.

Against that backdrop, the Syrian Arab Republic reiterates its commitment to a political solution based on a Syrian-owned and Syrian-led intra-Syrian national dialogue, to the Constitution, which is a Syrian national sovereign affair, and to the Constitutional Committee, which is itself sovereign. Syria stresses that outside parties must refrain from interfering in, or hampering the work of, the Committee by imposing artificial time frames or predetermined conclusions, in line with respect for the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, as affirmed by all the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.

The cowardly terrorist attack in the heart of the Syrian capital, Damascus, on the morning of 20 October, which targeted a bus with two explosive devices, coincided with the meetings of the Constitutional Committee. That was a clear indication of attempts by terrorist organizations and their foreign sponsors to foil efforts at reaching a political solution and to hinder the work of the Syrian Government to restore security and stability throughout Syria. That terrorist attack, which left 14 civilians dead and many injured passers-by, was clearly aimed at raising the morale of the terrorists sponsored by the American and Turkish occupying forces in Idlib, Al-Tanf and other parts of northern Syria as they fall before the Syrian Arab Army and its allies’ achievements.

It is regrettable and reprehensible that some Western countries blocked the adoption by the Security Council of a draft press release submitted by the delegation of the Russian Federation to condemn that terrorist attack. That Western approach reflects the double standards and hostile attitude of those countries.

We also condemn the fact that Israeli occupying forces escalated their hysterical aggression against Syria — whether by bombing southern areas two days ago following the reconciliation in Dara’a and the restoration of security and stability there, its ongoing aerial aggression against Al-Tanf, which is controlled by American forces, or its assassination of freedom fighter and former member of the Syrian Parliament Medhat Al-Saleh, using snipers who fired bullets originating from the occupied Syrian Golan. That once again proves Israel’s involvement in undermining security and stability in Syria.

The Syrian Arab Republic underscores its commitment to continuing its efforts to liberate its occupied territories and combating terrorism in tandem with its political efforts. Such terrorists attacks and terrorist acts will not deter Syria from continuing its efforts to restore security and stability and rid our people of all terrorist groups, irrespective of what they are called.

Syria calls upon the Security Council to assume its responsibilities and stop Israeli acts of aggression, which threaten peace and stability in the region, and to compel the Governments known to be sponsors of terrorism to halt their violations of international law and comply fully with the Council’s resolutions on counter-terrorism.

Yesterday, on behalf of my Government, I sent two identical letters to the Council and to the Secretary-General conveying the position of the Syrian Government on the report of the Secretary-General on the humanitarian situation (S/2021/890). Given the limited time available here, I invite the members of the Council to read those two letters and take note of our detailed observations on the report, especially after we exposed errors in the statistics and responses provided by United Nations agencies and the misinformation therein. We call for an investigation of the matter, the correction of the errors and the restoration of the reputation of the Syrian Government, as well as for ensuring that this does not happen again.

It has been over three and a half months since the Council adopted resolution 2585 (2021). However, the Turkish occupying forces and the proxies of their terrorist organizations continue to hinder humanitarian access from inside Syria. They continue to refuse access for the Al-Atarib convoy to the north-west of the country — a convoy which the Syrian Government approved in April 2020. Moreover, they continue to weaponize water against civilians.

There is also deliberate intent on the part of Western Governments to not respect the provisions of operative paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of the resolution, for they continue to hamper any effort aimed at making progress on humanitarian access from within Syria and at promoting humanitarian activities in the areas of early recovery and strengthening resilience, as provided for in the resolution, which is also part of the humanitarian response plan.

In addition to that, those same Governments have again blocked the adoption of the strategic framework for cooperation between the United Nations and the Syrian Government, which would enable United Nations agencies to relaunch development programmes and projects in Syria and support efforts to achieve sustainable development.

That raises the question of how one could contemplate extending the provisions of the resolution later this year. What will the Secretary-General say in his substantive report to be issued pursuant to the resolution? Is it possible that the percentage of funding allocated to early-recovery projects does not exceed 5 per cent of the total pledges?

The United States Administration and the European Union continue to use coercive measures to stifle Syrians inhumanely and deprive them of their basic needs — food, medicine, health care, electricity and fuel — in particular as winter approaches, as well as to undermine our efforts to counter the coronavirus disease pandemic. All of that contradicts their alleged humanitarian concern and reveals their false slogans regarding their respect for the principles of international law and the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, as well as all United Nations resolutions, which time and again have affirmed the illegality of those measures and their violation of human rights. They have also deliberately disregarded the appeals of the Secretary-General and his representatives. Any claim that such measures have no impact on the lives of Syrians is a mere fabrication to cover up the facts.

In conclusion, Syria reiterates its demand for an end to the illegal presence of the United States and Turkish forces on our territories and for stopping their aggressive practices and looting of the country’s economic resources and wealth. We also call for the immediate and unconditional lifting of unilateral coercive measures imposed on the Syrian people. We stress that improving the humanitarian situation requires support for the efforts of the Syrian State to meet the humanitarian needs and provide basic services to all Syrians, as well as achieving the development goals and creating conditions conducive to the dignified, safe and voluntary return of displaced persons and refugees.