Ten years on, the crisis in Syria remains devastating

Refugees in a camp in Suruc, Turkey Refugees in a camp in Suruc, Turkey Photo by Gmina Radek Procyk on iStock.

10 March 2021

The United Nations Secretary General recently addressed the dire needs of Syrians amid the ongoing conflict.

On 10 March 2021, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres reaffirmed the UN’s intent to “continue pursuing a negotiated political settlement to the Syrian civil war,” which has been ongoing for a decade. While briefing journalists at the UN Headquarters, Guterres emphasized the importance of cooperation between countries to support Syrians in finding a solution to the crisis. 

The Syrian Civil War began in 2011, after mass anti-government protests and uprisings escalated into a full-scale war. According to the UN, “hundreds of thousands of Syrians have died, millions have been displaced, and countless more remain illegally detained, disappeared or living in uncertainty.” Throughout the war, Syrians have been subject to chemical weapon attacks, sieges, and countless other humanitarian violations. After ten years of conflict, no Syrian remains unaffected. Continued humanitarian assistance will be essential to combat food insecurity, as approximately 60% of the population is at risk of going hungry this year, as stated by Guterres. 

The long-standing conflict has inflicted significant damage upon homes, schools, hospitals and infrastructure. Historic landmarks and formerly-bustling markets have been destroyed, according to National Public Radio (NPR). “War broke the social and business ties that bound neighbors to their community.” Sanctions imposed by the US government and the spread of COVID-19 infections have contributed to the hardships that Syrian civilians face. 

The Secretary-General called for increased assistance in order to secure cross-line and cross-border deliveries and ensure they reach all individuals in need. The UN will continue to pursue a “negotiated political settlement to the crisis, in line with Security Council Resolution 2254, which endorses a road map towards a Syrian-led political transition.” However, progress on behalf of the Syrian Constitutional Committee would facilitate the peace process. These actions will seek a solution that addresses the needs of Syrians, creates the necessary conditions to  allow refugees to return safely, and “respect Syria’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.” 


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Author: Sitara Sandhu; Editor: Gabriella Pavlakis

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