On his second visit to Syria, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, met with President Bashar Al-Assad and government officials to discuss the action plan presented to the Security Council on 30 October. The Special Envoy also visited the western city of Homs where he met with the Governor and opposition representatives.
Speaking to the press in Damascus at the conclusion of his visit on 11 November, Mr. de Mistura noted the constructive interest expressed by Syrian authorities to work with the United Nations on his proposal to “freeze” the fighting, starting with Aleppo. “My meetings with the President and with Government officials gave me a feeling that they are studying very seriously and very actively the UN proposal”, he said. “If that “freeze” works, this could be a building block for a political process and certainly this is not a substitute to what is a political solution but it certainly is an incentive in that direction”, he noted. The Special Envoy stressed that the action plan is aimed at addressing the threat of terrorism, reducing violence and provide humanitarian assistance to those suffering due to the conflict. “We are going now to make sure that this proposal is actively considered and studied by everyone else”, Mr. de Mistura added.
Winter aid crisis is looming for displaced people amid critical funding shortages
On 11 November, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) warned that as many as one million displaced people might not receive winter humanitarian aid due to a funding gap. A UNHCR spokesperson told reporters in Geneva that while efforts are under way in Syria and Iraq to prepare the displaced population for the winter, the agency is facing a US$58.5 million funding shortfall. UNHCR was planning to help 1.4 million people, but only has enough funds to provide winter kits for 620,000 people through December. “The shortfall affects our winter preparedness programmes, and means that UNHCR has to make some very tough choices over who to prioritize,” spokesperson Melissa Fleming said. According to UNHCR, the total number of people displaced by the conflicts in Syria and Iraq has reached 13.6 million, including 7.2 million inside Syria.
UNICEF strongly condemns attacks on school in Damascus
In a statement issued on 7 November, the UNICEF Representative for Syria, Hanaa Singer, strongly condemned the attack on a primary school in Damascus in which 11 children were killed and many more injured. “The attack, which occurred on 5 November, on the Al Hayat Primary School in eastern Damascus is yet another horrific reminder of the terrible price Syria’s children are paying in a brutal conflict now well into its fourth year”, she said. In the first nine months of 2014, the United Nations in Syria has verified at least 35 such incidents that killed 105 children and injured 293. UNICEF reiterated its call to all parties to the conflict to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law to protect children.
UNHCR warns of winter crisis for almost one million displaced Iraqis & Syrians
http://trib.al/pzaUCU4 pic.twitter.com/zUd8iVJ9vx via @Refugees– 11 Nov 2014
UN Radio in Arabic:
UNHCR sounds the alarm about the situation of displaced persons in Syria and Iraq ahead of winter
Fiscal deficit threatens the efforts of the UNHCR in Syria and Iraq
de Mistura: Alternative initiative: “freeze” the tragic conflict in Syria
Staffan de Mistura describes talks with Assad as constructive and calls for the “freeze” in Syrian conflict, starting with Aleppo
UNICEF: Qaboun attack is a reminder of the horrific heavy price paid by the Syrian children
Relevant links to UN Secretariat, Agencies, Funds and Programmes on Syria
DPI Focus Page on Syria:
UN humanitarian agencies