Syrian Crisis – United Nations Response

map-syriaA Weekly Update from the
UN Department of Public Information – No. 177/ 21 December 2016 

Security Council approves UN monitors for Aleppo evacuations

Alarmed at the “devastating” humanitarian crisis in Aleppo, where perhaps thousands of civilians remain trapped, the Security Council on 19 December requested the United Nations and other relevant institutions to carry out “adequate, neutral monitoring and direct observation on evacuations from the eastern districts” of the war-battered city. Through a unanimously adopted resolution, the Council also requested the UN to ensure further deployment of staff for Monitoring and reporting on the evacuations, as needed and demanded all parties to provide these monitors with safe, immediate and unimpeded access.

Evacuations from eastern Aleppo resume after stalling for more than a day

Evacuations escorted by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and International Committee of the Red Cross —  that had been  stalled for more than a day – resumed on the afternoon of 21 December at 4pm local time from the besieged neighbourhoods in eastern Aleppo, with operations expected to continue through the coming hours, the UN Spokesperson said in New York. At least 20 surge staff from Damascus have been deployed to Aleppo to support ongoing observations of evacuations and response activities in the city. UN teams have maintained a presence at the Ramouseh Government checkpoint in Aleppo to observe the evacuations from east Aleppo since 15 December. The ICRC estimates that more than 25,000 people have been evacuated from the besieged neighbourhoods in eastern Aleppo between 15 and 20 December. According to the World Health Organization, as of 19 December, 301 wounded and sick people had been evacuated, including 93 patients in critical condition who have been transferred to Turkey; others were transferred to hospitals in Idlib and in rural western Aleppo. Protection of civilians leaving these areas remains the biggest concern. The process for evacuation was traumatic, with crowding and vulnerable people waiting for hours and exposed to sub-zero temperatures. All remaining civilians must be allowed to safely leave should they choose to do so. Access to people in need to provide them with life-saving humanitarian assistance is also urgently needed.

As evacuations resume in Aleppo, UN prepares to redeploy staff to monitor the process

As the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) resumed this morning evacuations from besieged neighbourhoods in eastern Aleppo, the United Nations reported that it has received authorization to send 20 international and national staff to the city to play a critical role in the monitoring and the response. “This will almost triple the number of international staff currently deployed to Aleppo,” Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told the regular news briefing in Geneva on 20 December, where he informed reporters of the Syrian Government’s decision to “unblock” the 20 staffers, who were already in the capital, Damascus, to be redeployed “as soon as possible to Aleppo.”

UN Humanitarian Chief welcomes adoption of Security Council resolution on Aleppo evacuations

In a statement issued on 19 December, Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator said, “I welcome the adoption of resolution 2328 (2016) by the Security Council. I sincerely hope that, through the passing of this resolution, all parties and those with influence over them will finally and unequivocally ensure that civilians in Aleppo who have suffered so much and for so long are afforded all necessary protection and assistance. Our task now is to turn these words into meaningful action. It is vital that the resolution is fully implemented without any delay”.

 Staffan de Mistura announces intention to convene intra-Syrian negotiations in February 2017

In a statement on 19 December, the Special Envoy welcomed the adoption of Security Council resolution 2328 (2016) on Syria.  He hoped that this could be a beginning of the restoration of the unity of the Security Council. Along with the wider UN system, the Office of the Special Envoy will be fully engaged in promoting the operational implementation of the resolution on the ground. The Special Envoy believed that it is vital to build on this initial momentum with further steps. As indicated in his briefing the Security Council on 21 September 2016, and more recently on 8 December 2016, he has been intensively working towards convening the formal intra-Syrian negotiations mandated in Security Council resolution 2254 (2015). The Special Envoy wishes to announce that it is the intention of the United Nations to convene those negotiations in Geneva on 8 February 2017.

UN invited to monitor and assist fresh evacuation efforts under way in war-ravaged Aleppo

The United Nations was invited to monitor and assist in the renewed effort to evacuate sick and wounded civilians and opposition fighters from the remaining rebel-held areas of Syria’s war-ravaged city of Aleppo on 15 December 2016, a senior UN humanitarian envoy announced. Following today’s meeting in Geneva of the Humanitarian Access Task Force of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), Jan Egeland, the UN Senior Adviser on Syria, detailed the UN’s three-pronged evacuation plan, a plan he hoped would be “the start of a last and successful attempt of evacuations.” The plan includes medical evacuations for the wounded and sick, evacuations for vulnerable civilians, and evacuations of fighters. The agreement was not made on behalf of the UN, but rather through direct talks of the various parties to the Syrian war, he explained.

As bitter winter grips Middle East, UNICEF faces funding gap for support to millions of children

Millions of children throughout the Middle East are in danger as bitter cold temperatures and winter weather bear down on the region, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on 20 December, as it warned that the agency faces a $38 million funding gap as it races to provide assistance. “The winter months are even more brutal for vulnerable children in the region,” said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

‘Aleppo now synonym for hell,’ Ban warns in final press conference as UN chief

In his last press conference as United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon on 16 December 2016 delivered stark warnings on two issues at the forefront of international concern: that “the carnage in Syria remains a gaping hole in the global conscience;” and that South Sudan faces a risk of genocide as the country leaders have “squandered a peace agreement.” “Aleppo is now a synonym for hell,” Mr. Ban said at UN Headquarters in New York, bidding farewell to the UN press corps. “We have collectively failed the people of Syria. Peace will only prevail when it is accompanied by compassion, justice and accountability for the abominable crimes we have seen,” he added.

WFP responding to urgent needs of thousands in eastern Aleppo crisis

Amid the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Aleppo, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has rushed in to provide hot meals, bread and food rations to thousands of Syrians affected by the brutal conflict. In a statement issued on 19 December, more than 20,000 people displaced by the fighting in east Aleppo are receiving hot meals and fresh bread every day, and WFP has mobilized food stocks to meet the food needs of up to 150,000 people. So far, 14,000 displaced people and returnees have received family food rations and ready-to-eat parcels in various parts of Aleppo city and its surroundings. WFP is providing bread as nearly all bakeries inside east Aleppo have been destroyed due to constant bombardment and airstrikes.

WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin: cruelty of war has descended upon the people of Aleppo

For months, the world has watched as the cruelty of war has descended upon the people of Aleppo. As Aleppo and its people have suffered, so has our collective humanity. In recent days, WFP and its partners have provided food to thousands driven from their homes as conflict consumed Aleppo, said Ertharin Cousin, WFP Executive Director on 16 December.

UNICEF Regional Director: Strive for immediate political solution

“This morning, all 47 children trapped in an orphanage in east Aleppo were evacuated to safety, with some in critical condition from injuries and dehydration. “The evacuation of these orphans, along with thousands of other children from east Aleppo in the past days is a glimmer of hope amid a grim reality for the children of Syria. Their safe departure is a testimony to the relentless efforts of humanitarians on the ground, working around the clock for children and their families.

“We call on all parties to the conflict to strive for an immediate political solution to this war.  The lives of millions more children depend on it.”

Aleppo: What WFP is Doing and How You Can Help

The humanitarian situation in Aleppo is catastrophic. The World Food Programme urges all parties to this vicious conflict to respect international law and common humanitarian principles and provide unconditional, unimpeded and safe access to those in need.

Situation Report No.9 on Syria

On the night of 18 December, evacuations of both civilians and fighters, from eastern Aleppo to rural western Aleppo and Idleb resumed after an agreement had been reached that also includes proportional evacuations of residents from non-State armed group-besieged Foah and Kafraya in Idleb. Similar to the previously suspended evacuations on 15-16 December, SARC and ICRC were requested by the parties to facilitate the evacuation of sick and wounded people from eastern Aleppo.

UN News in Arabic

UN urges halt to the fighting in Aleppo to allow civilians to leave

الأمم المتحدة تحث على وقف القتال في حلب للسماح بمغادرة المدنيين

International committee: The Syrian government controls eastern Aleppo, therefore it bears primary responsibility for preventing violations

لجنة دولية: الحكومة السورية تسيطر على شرق حلب وبالتالي تتحمل المسؤولية الأساسية عن منع الانتهاكات

Germany provides 18 million euros to support the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared camp and help Palestine refugees and displaced persons from Syria in Lebanon

ألمانيا تقدم 18 مليون يورو لدعم إعادة إعمار مخيم نهر البارد ومساعدة لاجئي فلسطين من سوريا والنازحين إلى لبنان

Egeland expresses optimism as the evacuation of thousands of civilians from eastern Aleppo begins

إيغلاند يعرب عن تفاؤله لبدء عمليات إجلاء آلاف المدنيين من شرق حلب

Bokova urges safer conditions for media in the wake of the confirmation of the deaths of Syrian journalists

بوكوفا تحثّ على توفير ظروف أكثر أمناً للعاملين في قطاع الإعلام في أعقاب تأكيد مقتل صحفيّين سوريّين

WHO: evacuation of the eastern Aleppo stopped without any reasons being given

منظمة الصحة العالمية: الإجلاء من شرق حلب أوقف بدون إبداء الأسباب

Secretary-General: Aleppo has become a synonym for Hell

الأمين العام: حلب أصبحت مرادفا للجحيم

UNICEF: some 3,000 children evacuated from eastern Aleppo in the past 24 hours, yet hundreds still trapped there

اليونيسف: إجلاء نحو 3000 طفل من شرق حلب خلال الـ24 ساعة الماضية والمئات مازالوا محاصرين هناك

The Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the United Nations to monitor the situation in Aleppo

مجلس الأمن يعتمد بالإجماع قرارا يطالب الأمم المتحدة برصد الوضع في حلب

UNICEF Regional Director calls for an immediate political solution in Syria to protect millions of children

المدير الإقليمي لليونيسف يدعو إلى حل سياسي فوري في سوريا من أجل حياة ملايين الأطفال

de Mistura criticizes the use of blackmail in the evacuation operations in Aleppo

دي مستورا ينتقد استخدام الابتزاز في عمليات الإجلاء بحلب

For the sixth year: Syrian refugees in Lebanon face another cold winter

للعام السادس: اللاجئون السوريون في لبنان يواجهون شتاء قارصا آخر

My visit to the Zaatari refugee camp: this time Syrians are the refugees

زيارتي إلى مخيم الزعتري: هذه المرة كان السوريون هم اللاجئون


UN Geneva@UNGeneva- 20 Dec

“Nearly 19,000 people have been evacuated from East #Aleppo“, informs @JensLaerke of @UNOCHA at the Geneva press briefing.

World Food Programme@WFP – 21 Dec

Many families from #Aleppo have lost everything this winter. Donate to WFP’s mission in support of Syrian families →

United Nations@UN 20 Dec

Unseasonably cold temperatures are latest threat to children in need across Middle East – @UNICEF  #Syria #Iraq

United Nations Retweeted

OCHA Syria@OCHA_Syria 20 Dec

The @UN resolution to monitor evacuations from east #Aleppo #Syria must be implemented immediately @UNReliefChief 

United Nations@UN 20 Dec

Monday’s Security Council resolution calls for “neutral monitoring & direct observation on evacuations from the eastern districts” of

United Nations Retweeted


Video: Some 40K ppl recently displaced from east Aleppo. @UNICEF is providng life-saving support #childrenofsyria

United Nations ‏@UN 19 Dec

.@WFP is responding to urgent needs of thousands affected by East Aleppo crisis. You can help here:

United Nations ‏@UN 19 Dec

Aleppo update: find out more about the Security Council resolution adopted this morning here:


United Nations· December 19 at 11:49am ·

NEWS: The United Nations Security Council approves sending UN monitors to Aleppo, Syria.

Alarmed at the devastating humanitarian crisis in Aleppo, where perhaps thousands of civilians remain trapped, the Council has requested adequate, neutral monitoring and direct observation on evacuations from the eastern districts”of the war-battered city.

The Security Council resolution also calls on all parties to respect and protect all medical and humanitarian personnel, their means… of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities throughout the country.


Social media campaigns

#My Voice-My School is an UNRWA project launched in 2015 and implemented by Digital Explorer to connect schools in Gaza, Syria, Lebanon with schools in Europe and USA through Skype exchanges. Through live video conversations and customized teaching materials, students and teachers explore how education can help them meet their future aspirations.

@ShareTheMeal: In April 2016, the World Food Programme launched its phone application to support fundraising efforts for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. ShareTheMeal’s fundraising aims to support 1,400 refugee children. Through the app, smartphone users can join thousands of other people in making donations and support a selected community and monitor progress. Since the launch of the campaign, nearly 7.5 million meals have been shared.

#RememberUs – #Syria5Years is an advocacy and fundraising campaign to tell the story of Palestine refugees in Syria after five years of armed conflict. In the last five years, the Palestine refugees of Syria have been experiencing tremendous hardship with over 60 per cent of the 560,000 registered with UNRWA displaced throughout Syria and further afield. Through the campaign, UNRWA remembers the victims to the Syrian conflict, in particular the Palestine refugees, many of whom have lost their communities, family members, houses and livelihoods.



#Unite4Heritage is a global movement run by UNESCO that aims to celebrate and safeguard cultural heritage and diversity around the world. Launched in response to the unprecedented attacks on world heritage sites, the campaign calls on everyone to stand up against extremism and radicalization by celebrating the places, objects and cultural traditions that make the world such a rich and vibrant place.

Relevant links to UN Secretariat, Agencies, Funds and Programmes on Syria

DPI Focus Page on Syria:


UN System agencies :



OCHA: http:/,,






UNESCO Emergency Safeguarding of the Syrian Cultural Heritage Project:

UNESCO Observatory of Syrian Cultural Heritage

UNESCO Bridging Learning Gaps for Youth:


UN on social media:





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