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The consequences of protracted conflict in Syria

Aleppo, Syria Aleppo, Syria Photo by Aladdin Hammami on Unsplash

20 January 2021

UN Syrian Envoy Geir Pedersen and Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Lowcock speak to the Security Council about the ongoing Syrian conflict

Ten years of conflict, corruption, and mismanagement, compounded by the current economic collapse of the COVID-19 crisis, has left millions of civilians with a grim outlook in the coming year. Speaking at a Security Council video conference meeting, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria Geir Pedersen termed this a “slow tsunami that is crashing across Syria”. He cited the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in saying that more than 80% of Syrians are living in poverty, and the World Food Programme (WFP) in saying that 9.3 million are food insecure. Moreover, despite the past ten months being the calmest in the history of the conflict, civilians continue to be killed in crossfire, and face arbitrary detention and abduction. 

UN Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Lowcock elaborated further, drawing attention to the rapidly rising food prices and decline in Syria’s currency driving immense food insecurity. Other grave concerns identified included rising dependency on child labour, harsh weather sparking widespread flooding, and rising fuel shortages. Coordinator Lowcock also highlighted the desperate conditions at the notorious Al Hol refugee camp, reminding the Security Council that most of the 62,000 people in the camp are younger than 12 and “growing up in unacceptable conditions”. Envoy Pederson called for “more serious and cooperative international diplomacy”, and spoke out against economic sanctions that could create even more instability for Syrians. 

“The political process is not as yet delivering real changes in Syrian’s lives nor a real vision for the future,” Envoy Pedersen said. 


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Author: Tan Zhong Chen; Editor: Xavier Atkins

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