UN chief calls for renewed energy for peace as Syrian conflict enters 12th year

(Xinhua) 14:49, March 11, 2023

UNITED NATIONS, March 10 (Xinhua) -- The international community must help Syria move toward a political solution following the recent deadly earthquakes, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday.

"Now is the time for us to act in unison, to secure a nationwide ceasefire, advance the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people, and create the conditions necessary for the voluntary return of refugees in safety and dignity, with our strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Syria, and to regional stability," the top UN official said in a statement.

Guterres noted that March 11 "marks 12 years of grinding conflict, systematic atrocities, and untold human grief in Syria."

Last month's earthquakes rocked the country and neighboring Türkiye at a time when humanitarian needs were at an all-time high.

He added that this latest tragedy occurred amid worsening economic conditions, ravaging communities already traumatized by war and displacement. Damage has been worst in the northwest, where more than four million people were already relying on aid to survive.

"As we mourn all those who lost their lives and expand humanitarian operations across Syria, we must ensure continued access using all modalities and sufficient resources to meet the needs of all those affected," said the secretary-general.

As part of this support, he said early recovery assistance builds resilience while addressing immediate lifesaving needs.

He also underscored the urgency of guaranteeing cross-border aid access from Türkiye to the northwest for 12 months.

"The support provided in the aftermath of these earthquakes must be channeled into renewed energy on the political track, to address the fundamental issues underpinning the Syria conflict," he stressed.

The UN chief said he remains convinced that sustainable peace can be achieved through reciprocal and verifiable steps by Syrian parties and key international stakeholders.

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Sheng Chuyi)


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