The humanitarian situation in Syria will not change without the lifting of sanctions

Ayman Ryad
2021 / 10 / 1

In 2021, there is a serious increase in humanitarian needs in Syria, which throws back the recent progress made and actively broadcast in the information field to improve the socio-economic situation of the local population. This is the conclusion reached by the UN Secretary General s Special Representative for Humanitarian Affairs M. Griffiths, who had visited Damascus on the eve of his first official visit in his new position.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator cited disappointing figures on the increase in the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance to 13.4 million people, which is 21% higher than the level of 2020. This growth in need, unprecedented in recent years, is returning Syria to the scale of the humanitarian disaster of early 2017. Speaking in mid-September of this year. M. Griffiths said before the members of the UN Security Council: -;- "The real situation of the population in Syria is much" sadder "than those figures and data that are given in official reports." Particularly urgent and urgent, he said, is the delivery of aid to the opposition-controlled Syrian province of Idlib, where tensions have risen again in recent months and --dir--ect armed clashes between pro-Turkish militants and the Syrian army have intensified.
According to UN experts, the UN humanitarian response plan in Syria in 2021 is by far the most ambitious in the world -;- -;-its budget is --$-- 4.2 billion. At the same time, the real level of funding for this plan remains a record low -;-in 9 months of the year it was provided only by 27%, and even if donor receipts increase in the remaining months of 2021, it will be extremely difficult to meet the growing humanitarian needs.
Funding gaps prevent international organizations from investing in preventive strategies and measures to strengthen the resilience of local communities and small and medium-sized enterprises. It seems that it is precisely such measures that are extremely important in order to prevent the further growth of the humanitarian crisis, but the resources for their implementation are insufficient. In the coming months, the UN predicts that the Syrian population will continue to live in extreme poverty. This is influenced, among other things, by the fact that Syria maintains a large network of camps and temporary settlements for refugees, which remain overcrowded and continue to increase in size. It is these places of stay of Syrian refugees that remain the most dangerous from the point of view of violence and violation of the rights of the civilian population -;-robberies, rape, and the illegal use of child labor are practiced there.
Separately, it should be noted the growing negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the growth of humanitarian needs in Syria. In particular, the failure of the authorities to implement a fast and effective transition to online education, coupled with restrictive measures, led to the closure of the work of many educational institutions. The situation is especially acute in the north-west of the country, where a sharp increase in the number of cases of coronavirus is forcing the government to take tough measures and close schools. The vaccination rate in Syria as a whole does not exceed 2%, which does not imply effective solutions to stop the pandemic in the foreseeable future.
On a national scale, there is a deterioration in the population s access to clean drinking water, sanitary and hygienic facilities, and medical institutions. The water crisis is largely triggered by the worst drought this year, which has disrupted fresh water supplies for irrigation and agriculture, as well as hydropower in many parts of the country. This crisis is especially felt in the Kurdish-controlled northeastern regions of Syria.
At the same time, despite the growing humanitarian needs and significant funding problems for UN operations in Syria, the position of leading Western donors towards Damascus remains unchanged. This explains the recent alarmist statements by senior UN officials, who are sounding the alarm and urging donors to fulfill their humanitarian obligations. At the same time, leading Western donors continue to insist that support for long-term projects for the economic reconstruction of the country and the lifting of sanctions on Damascus will become possible only after the latter starts political reform in accordance with previously concluded international agreements.

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