General Assembly Security Council


UNSC briefing/consultations on Syria [Humanitarian]


Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations


29 March 2021



Thank you, Mr President.


Let me begin by welcoming Secretary of State of the United States, HE Mr. Anthony Blinken for convening this timely meeting on Syria today. I would also like to thank USG Mark Lowcock for his briefing on the humanitarian situation in Syria. I also thank UNICEF ED Henrietta Fore and Dr. Amani Ballour, Al Amal Fund for their respective briefings.


2. Today’s meeting is yet another reminder to the Council of the grim humanitarian situation in Syria. The decade-long conflict has had a devastating effect on the people of Syria. We are deeply concerned with the alarming statistics. An estimated half-million people have died, millions have been displaced, both internally and externally, the health infrastructure has collapsed, and children have been deprived of basic education. Women, children and youth have especially been deeply impacted. The Covid-19 pandemic has further aggravated the humanitarian situation.


3. Syria’s economy has suffered multiple shocks over the past decade. The substantial depreciation of the Syrian Pound, which lost more than three-quarters of its value over the past year alone, has led to spiraling inflation and dwindling purchasing power of the average Syrian household.


4. The last decade has largely been lost for the Syrians, particularly for the children and youth, who have not been seeing anything but violence and conflict since 2011. This suffering should certainly move the Council members. The Council needs to introspect, about the cost of its actions and inactions. There is an urgent need to build consensus on the humanitarian situation and collectively work to ameliorate the sufferings of people in Syria. We cannot afford to be unmoved.


5. Keeping in mind the scale, severity and complexity of humanitarian needs, those who advocate linking humanitarian assistance to the political track should revisit the matter immediately. The politicization of the humanitarian track does not help anyone, least of all the millions of suffering Syrians. What we need immediately is an engagement that is both consistent with Syrian independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty as well as addresses the urgency of the humanitarian issues to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people.


6. At the same time, concrete steps need to be taken to address hurdles that are obstructing the functioning of both cross-border and cross-line operations, in particular, the delays in granting requisite approvals to humanitarian aid convoys.


7. The recent flare-up of hostilities in north-west Syria on 21 March reminds us again of the serious impediments to our efforts. India strongly condemns the attack on surgical hospital in Al Atareb that resulted in the killing of innocent civilians. India has consistently underlined the need to protect health and humanitarian workers. We have equally underlined that we cannot allow terrorists to take any further advantage of the situation and the Council should speak in one voice on terrorism. Let us not lose sight to the need to resolutely combat terrorists and terrorist groups.


8. We welcome the hosting of the Fifth Brussels Donors Conference today and tomorrow (29-30 March) and remain convinced that efforts towards improving the humanitarian situation in Syria, will positively impact the political track as well. We need to engage on Syrian reconstruction as well.



9. For our part, as we have mentioned earlier, India has already extended immediate medical assistance and food assistance to Syria recently, in addition to the development cooperation projects, including US$ 265 million in soft loans, and substantial human resources development initiatives under our technical cooperation program. Our artificial limb fitment camp of the well-known “Jaipur Foot” of the Jaipur-based BMVSS in India, which was conducted in Damascus, benefited over 500 Syrians affected by the conflict. We had undertaken this Jaipur Foot initiative under the rubric of “India For Humanity”. We certainly need humanity now more than ever on the humanitarian crisis facing Syria.


I thank you Mr. President.