Statement by H.E. Mr. Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu Permanent Representative of Turkey at the Security Council Meeting

Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 29.03.2021
Madam President,
Thank you, for convening this meeting. I also thank USG Lowcock and UNICEF Executive Director Fore for their insightful briefings. And I salute Dr. Amani Ballour who bravely saved countless lives in an underground hospital in Eastern Ghouta.
In March 2011, the Syrian regime detained and tortured demonstrators in Dar’a.

These young people had wanted to express their desire to live in a democratic and free society.
This was the beginning of Assad’s horrific war against its own people.
Ten years have passed.
Since then, we, the international community, could not bring an end to the violence and human rights violations in Syria.
The figures are appalling:
- More than 60% of Syria’s pre-war population were forced to flee their homes.
- More than a half million people died.
- Inside Syria, over 80% of people are living in poverty.
- 86% of refugee children do not want to return to Syria. They feel unsafe to go back.
- At least 2 aid workers and 8 medical personnel are killed every month.
- 56% of the Syrian people are afraid to live near health facilities, because these are regularly targeted by the Assad regime and its supporters.
These numbers only get worse. And the Security Council holds meetings, one after another, to no avail.
Madam President,
My country is faced with all the security implications and humanitarian consequences of the conflict in Syria.
We have been hosting 4 million Syrians.

We have ensured that UN cross-border humanitarian assistance reach millions of people in Syria.
We set a red line in Idlib and protect five million vulnerable people from Assad and its backers.
Turkey is the only NATO country that engaged in chest to chest combat in Syria with DAESH.
And we maintain our resolute fight against terrorist organization PKK/YPG, and its separatist agenda that aims to establish a totalitarian rule in northeast Syria.
Madam President,
The perpetrators of mass atrocities in Syria continue to target civilians and civilian infrastructure.

The barbaric attack on Atarib Hospital last week, a UN-deconflicted facility, is the latest example of the war crimes taking place in Syria.
The perpetrators killed innocent civilians and destroyed 24 aid trucks and relief items for more than 20.000 people.
We strongly condemn these violations of international humanitarian law.
The perpetrators should be, and will be, exposed and held accountable.
Madam President,
Today, the humanitarian situation in Syria is worse than nine months ago, when Resolution 2533 was adopted.
As it was stated before me, 13.4 million people are in humanitarian need. This is a 20% increase from last year.
As part of the UN cross-border assistance, over 12.000 aid trucks crossed into northwest in 2020, including over 10.000 through Bab al Hawa.
Millions of people need COVID-19 vaccines.
This human-made situation can only be compared to the most terrible crimes of human history.
Madam President,
We all remember the heartbreaking images of Syrians from six years ago.
They were fleeing for their lives.
We can face another mass exodus if the UN cross-border humanitarian operation is not renewed in July.
We do not have time to waste with discussions about cross-line access which can never meet the scale of cross-border operations.
It is particularly futile to advocate cross-line aid subject to regime’s approval. Damascus itself tops the list in terms of humanitarian needs, with an additional half a million of its residents becoming vulnerable compared to last year.
Unilateral initiatives that do not have the consent of the local population could only serve attempts to legitimize Assad’s dictatorship.
As USG Lowcock emphasized today and as it was highlighted by the Secretary-General on different occasions, the most scrutinized system in the world has been in place to monitor the UN operations from Bab al Hawa.
The lies that we heard today about Bab Al Hawa are yet another attempt to cover the most unlawful, inhuman starvation campaigns that have been conducted against Syrian people.
The unanimous adoption of Resolution 2165 in 2014 was one of the most important signs of unity within the Council.
It is time for all members of the Council to prove that they really care about the urgent needs of the innocent people of Syria, and authorize renewal of the UN cross-border mechanism.
Madam President,
Syrian people have endured the darkest decade of our time.
The current humanitarian situation is a consequence of Assad regime’s fight against the legitimate demands of Syrian people. And we all know it.
While we are waiting for the political process to deliver in accordance with Resolution 2254, we need to respond urgently to the deepening humanitarian situation.
This is a fight between right and wrong.
This is a matter of humanitarian principles, and millions of human lives are at stake. We need real action, now.
Madam President,
As to the statement made by the Syrian regime representative, I will repeat, I do not consider him as my legitimate counterpart, his presence here is an affront to the millions of Syrians who suffered countless crimes at the hands of the regime and therefore I will not honor his delusional remarks with a response.
Thank you.