Geneva conference broaches the issue of a transitional governing body
On the fifth day of the Geneva Conference between the Syrian Government and opposition representatives, Joint Special Representative Brahimi continued to brief the media on his efforts to achieve confidence-building measures and to discuss the implementation of the Geneva I communiqué. In a press conference on 29 January, he said that the two delegations had begun preliminary discussions on the establishment of a transitional governing body. He added that discussions also focused on humanitarian issues, in particular about Homs, about which negotiations between the United Nations and the Syrian authorities are ongoing. JSR Brahimi noted, however, that the first round of talks is expected to finish on 31 January and delegations will discuss when the second round will start.
UN agencies stand ready to deliver humanitarian aid in Homs
A WFP spokesperson told reporters on 28 January that a UN interagency convoy was on standby to deliver urgently needed humanitarian assistance to families trapped in the Old City of Homs. Once all parties on the ground allow the interagency convoy to proceed, WFP would deliver 500 family rations and 500 bags of wheat flour, enough for 2,500 people for one month. WFP also said the agency and partners had had irregular access to other towns in Homs including Al Rastan, Al Houlah, Talbisah, Ter Ma’ala and Ghanto. Elsewhere, WFP expressed concern that over 775,000 people in Al-Raqqa, Al-Hassakeh and Deir Ezzor had not been reached for assistance for several months, while over 40 locations in rural Damascus remained under siege, affecting an estimated 800,000 people.
Fourth monthly OPCW report is submitted to the Security Council
On 27 January, the Secretary-General transmitted, in a letter to the President of the Security Council, the fourth monthly report of the OPCW Director General. The report provides information on the activities of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission for the elimination of chemical weapons programme of Syria from 21 December 2013 to 20 January 2014. It notes that various logistical and technical issues, as well as the continuing volatile security situation in Syria, have affected timelines. As a result, the operation to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons programme is now behind schedule. While stressing that the delay is not insurmountable, the Secretary–General said that it is imperative that Syria intensify its efforts to expedite in-country movements of chemical weapons material and continue to meet its obligations under resolution 2118 (2013).
Further removal of chemical weapons materials from the Syrian Arab Republic
Meanwhile, the OPCW-UN Joint Mission announced on 27 January that a further shipment of chemical weapons materials took place from the Syrian port of Lattakia. The materials were verified by the OPCW-UN Joint Mission before uploading onto Danish and Norwegian cargo vessels for onward transportation. In a statement, the Mission said it looks forward to Syria’s continuing efforts to complete the removal of its chemical weapons materials in a safe, secure and timely manner.
Select UN stories
Protecting the Future in Syria
Damascus, 27 January – After nearly three years of conflict in Syria, it’s becoming clear that the impacts are not just in the violence of the present: Another casualty – for children who cannot go to school, for patients who cannot see their doctors, for people who have lost their jobs, savings and homes – is the future. One of the tasks facing the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is to help Palestine refugees in Syria maintain hope for a better future.
Relevant links to UN Secretariat, Agencies, Funds and Programmes on Syria
DPI Focus Page on Syria:
UN on social media: