A UN report Warns of a Humanitarian Catastrophe in Syria

The UN Syria Commission of Inquiry has warned of the escalation of violence, the collapse of the economy, and the occurrence of a humanitarian catastrophe in the country. The commission said, in a new report issued on Wednesday in Geneva, that The recent escalation in violence combined with a plunging war economy and a devastating humanitarian crisis is inflicting new levels of hardship and suffering on a Syrian civilian population that has endured over ten years of conflict.

The committee added that With more than half the pre-war population displaced and over 90% now living in poverty, Syrians are staring into a new abyss as violence escalates both in terms of military skirmishes and bombardments and in terms of abductions and killings away from the conflict zones.

“While parts of Syria are no longer subject to active fighting, make no mistake that violence against civilians continues across the country, from bombardment in the northwest, north, and northeast, to targeted killings, unlawful detention and torture,” Commission Chair Paulo Pinheiro said, adding that “The population is enduring crushing poverty inflicted on Syrians everywhere, in particular the internally displaced. These are the abysses faced by the Syrian people, caught between warring parties and everywhere being repressed and exploited by armed actors.”

He added that violations for monetary gain exacerbate the increasingly desperate economic situation. This has included hostage-taking for ransom, extortion and property seizures for confiscation or harvesting and selling crops. These violations are committed across the country by Government forces and other armed actors controlling territory, often targeting minorities.

“Syria is today facing the worst drought it has seen in decades. Inflation, already close to 140% at the start of the year, continues to spiral out of control when the price of basic commodities was already skyrocketing. At the same time, the outbreak of conflict between Russia and Ukraine will only contribute to greater price pressure, likely pushing ever more Syrians into poverty.”

We call for a review of the implementation and effects of the sanctions currently imposed on Damascus, especially in light of the deteriorating living conditions. Despite humanitarian exceptions, more efforts must be made to mitigate the unintended consequences on the daily lives of the civilian population as a result of excessive compliance.

We stress that the failure to review these sanctions could lead to more shortages and obstruction of humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable population, which has a devastating impact on everyone.

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