First Published: 2013-01-23

 

UN admits incapability: How can we provide assistance to devastated country?

 

Leader of UN mission says there is no humanitarian solution to conflict, noting that Syrians are destroying their own country.

 

Middle East Online

By Alison Tahmizian Meuse - BEIRUT

Absurd war

UN agency heads stressed on Tuesday there was "no humanitarian solution" to the Syrian conflict although the world body would do its best to help those in need, following a mission to the war-torn country.

"The plight of Syrian people is appalling, but it is exactly what you would expect after two years of unrelenting conflict. So many have died, so many have been injured, so many have had their lives destroyed. It stands out for us that Syrians are destroying their own country," said mission leader John Ging.

Ging, head of operations for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said: "This is a political problem. There is no humanitarian solution to the conflict.”

"The humanitarian organisations must do what we can to help people survive this. But our first appeal is to the political leadership of this world."

"If you doubt the scale of the travesty, then you should come and visit and see for yourselves. Answer to the mothers and fathers and children there who see no hope on the horizon ... you should answer to them for the political failure because they are bearing the consequences."

During their four-day mission, representatives from the World Food Programme, the UN refugee agency and others traveled to the southern province of Daraa, the embattled outskirts of Damascus and across the front line in the central city of Homs.

"Our mission crossed the conflict line yesterday. We had to negotiate with the government and with the opposition leadership, and the good news is that both sides were committed to the transmittal of humanitarian aid wherever it was needed," said Ging.

"There was in fact an agreement to cease fire during the period of our mission ... If it can be done for four hours of our mission, why can't it be extended for the Syrian people by the leaderships on both sides?" he asked.

"We visited hospitals that were without basic supplies," the official said adding that "wanton destruction is taking down this country, the capacity to deliver services, the electricity network, the water network."

He responded to a demand by the opposition Syrian National Coalition that the world body cease to distribute any aid through government institutions, saying:

"The aid effort led by the UN in Syria is directed through humanitarian partners, NGOs and community-based organisations. We do not donate to the government of Syria. Full stop."

The OCHA representative called on the international community to step up its funding for the UN mission, which is seeking to help fulfill a $519 million target at an upcoming donor conference in Kuwait.

 

Turkey, US agree to ‘work together’ in Syria

Fears of expanding Syrian war could trigger peace deal

Six suffer breathing difficulties after Turkish shelling in Afrin

Thousands protest corruption in Tel Aviv amid PM indictment call

Syrians crammed in shared flats in Afrin

Russian mercenaries - a discrete weapon in Syria

Iran protests ban on wrestler who threw bout to avoid Israel

Battle to free Mosul of IS 'intellectual terrorism'

Turkey frees Garman-Turk journalist after one year without charge

Turkey hands life sentences to 3 journalists for Gulen links

Prominent jihadist commander killed by rival Syria rebels

300 Russians killed in Syria battle last week

Tillerson, Erdogan have ‘productive, open’ talk

Iran raises rates, freezes accounts in bid to shore up rial

Kremlin says five Russians killed in US Syria strikes

Oman FM in rare visit by Arab official to Jerusalem

Senior IS leader extradited to Iraq from Turkey

Strikes hit another hospital in Syria's Idlib

Churches snub Jerusalem reception over tax dispute with Israeli authorities

Tillerson says US never gave 'heavy arms' to Kurdish YPG

Captured foreign IS suspects claim innocence

Yemeni mother awaits death penalty for spying for UAE

Fuel shortage shuts down Gaza's only power plant

Morocco arrests three suspected IS terrorists

Family of dead environmentalist in Iran threatened

Israel hands life sentence to Palestinian for triple murder

US appeals to Turkey to concentrate on fighting IS

Turkey sets up new 'observation point' in Syria's Idlib

Malaysia rejects criticism over Israeli visit

Tillerson in Ankara to ease Turkey tensions

Egypt arrests ex-presidential candidate

Tillerson: Hezbollah is part of Lebanon's 'political process'

Netanyahu says government ‘stable’ despite police recommending indictment

Corruption accusations facing Netanyahu

Syria denies ‘unacceptable’ chemical weapons use

Nations pledge nearly $25 billion toward Iraq's reconstruction

Egypt remands in custody former anti-corruption chief

Turkish PM 'hopes' German journalist is freed soon

US agrees to send $1 billion in annual aid to Jordan

Iran arrests money changers amid rial collapse

Saudi Arabia seeks to further reduce oil stockpiles

Turkey imposes curfews in Kurdish-majority province

Tillerson urges allies to focus on fighting IS

France threatens Syria strikes if chemical attacks proven

Tillerson says enduring IS defeat not yet achieved