A Weekly Update from the UN Department of Public Information
A Spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) told reporters in Geneva on 1 November that there had been reports of intensified shelling by armed opposition groups of civilian-populated areas in Government-controlled western Aleppo. The areas hit by mortars, rockets and other improvised explosive devices (IEDS) had included the neighbourhoods of Salah al-Din, al-Shahbaa, al-Zahraa and al-Hamadaniya.
More than 30 civilians, including at least 10 children, had been reportedly killed and dozens of others injured as a result of the attacks on 29 and 30 October. She added that shelling of opposition-held eastern Aleppo by Government forces and their allies was also continuing. OHCR warned that all parties in Aleppo were conducting hostilities which were resulting in large numbers of civilian casualties, and creating an atmosphere of terror for those who continued to live in the city. Strikes against hospitals, schools, marketplaces, water facilities and bakeries were now commonplace, and if proven to be intentional, may amount to war crimes.
UN officials condemn the attack against UN offices in Western Aleppo
In a joint statement on 31 October, the UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria Ali Al-Za’tari and the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis Kevin Kennedy strongly condemned the attack on UN offices in Western Aleppo. On 30 October, the top floors of the building were damaged by a tank shell. “It is appalling that the building that houses the UN offices was directly targeted,” said Mr. Al-Za’tari. “We strongly
condemn the increased violence in all of Aleppo, east and west, which has resulted in the
death and injury of scores of civilians, including children,” he stressed. “It is imperative that humanitarian organizations are granted unconditional, safe, and
unhindered access, to reach all people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance,
wherever they are,” said Mr Kennedy. “The people of Aleppo have suffered far too much, and for far too long,” he added.
UN Envoy for Syria appalled by shelling of civilians by armed opposition groups in Aleppo
Echoing concerns about the deteriorating situation in Western Aleppo, Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura said on 30 October that he was appalled and shocked by the high number of rockets indiscriminately launched by armed opposition groups on civilians. Mr. de Mistura recalled that the use of indiscriminate weapons, including heavy ones, on civilian areas could amount to war crimes. He reiterated the Secretary-General’s condemnation of recent attacks on schools on both sides, as well as the use of airpower on civilian areas.
UN aid convoys deliver much needed assistance for 40,000 people
A UN inter-agency convoy delivered multi-sectorial assistance for some 11,000 people in the besieged area of East Harasta in rural Damascus on 29 October. It was the fourth aid delivery to that besieged area in 2016. On 31 October another inter-agency convoy with food, health, nutrition and educational supplies for 30,000 people in need reached Qudsaya, also in rural Damascus. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) there are still food ration stockpiles in eastern Aleppo, however they would run out by mid-November.
Secretary General condemns deadly attack on school
The Secretary-General condemned the reported attack on a school in western Aleppo city, on 28 October which killed a number of children. Such attacks, if deliberate, may amount to war crimes, he stressed. “Those responsible for these acts must be brought to justice”, the Secretary-General stated, reiterating his call on the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.
Independent Human Rights Commission opens investigation into attack on Idlib school
The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria announced on 28 October the opening of an investigation into the aerial attack reportedly carried out by pro-government forces in Haas village, Idlib two days earlier. According to reports, 25 civilians, a majority of whom were school children, were killed. “Attacks against the few remaining functional schools for Syrian children are particularly grotesque”, said Commission Chair, Paulo Pinheiro. “There is no indication presently that any of these schools were being used by armed groups for military purposes. Make no mistake—if this attack is found to be deliberate, it would amount to a war crime.”
Investigative panel on use of chemical weapons briefs Security Council
The UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) on the use of chemical weapons in Syria presented its final report to the Security Council on 28 October. Overall, the Mechanism identified actors in four out of nine cases under its investigation. In three cases (Talmenes, 21 April 2014; Sarmin, 16 March 2016; and Qmenas, 16 March 2015) the Syrian armed forces were identified as the actor, involved in the use of chlorine as a weapon. In the fourth case of Marea (21 August 2015), Da’esh was found to be responsible for the use of sulphur mustard. “The Leadership Panel strongly believes that those with effective control in the military units referred to in this report or others responsible for the use of chemicals as weapons in Syria must be held accountable,” Virginia Gamba, Head of the JIM, told the media after briefing the Security Council.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2314, the Council extended the mandate of the JIM until 18 November 2016, with possibility for further extensions.
UN Humanitarian Chief urges the Security Council to act to save the people of Aleppo
Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien appealed the Security Council members to act to save the people of Aleppo during a briefing on 26 October. Mr. O’Brien told the Council that Aleppo has essentially become a “kill zone”, with 400 people having been killed and nearly 2,000 wounded in eastern Aleppo in the past few weeks.
“Each month I have come before you and presented an ever worsening record of destruction and atrocity (…) I cannot help but be incandescent with rage. Month after month, worse and worse, and nothing is actually happening to stop the war, stop the suffering. This Council has been charged with the responsibility for ending this horror. The buck stops with you”, Mr’ O Brien told members of the Security Council.
Kuwait contributes US$ 5 million to UNRWA to support Palestine refugees in Syria
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is very pleased to announce a contribution of US$ 5 million received from the State of Kuwait in support of the Agency’s Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal. This follows pledges made by Kuwait at the Fourth International Pledging Conference in London earlier this year.
UN Radio in Arabic
UN condemns attack on its offices in western Aleppo
الأمم المتحدة تدين هجوما على مكاتبها في غرب حلب
OHCHR: the bombing of civilian facilities has become common in Aleppo, and could amount to war crimes
مفوضية حقوق الإنسان: قصف المنشآت المدنية أصبح شائعا في حلب، ويمكن أن يرقى إلى جرائم الحرب
Special Envoy de Mistura condemns attacks by armed opposition groups in western Aleppo
دي مستورا يستنكر هجمات جماعات المعارضة المسلحة على غرب حلب
Members of the Security Council call for an investigation into an attack on a school in Idlib
أعضاء مجلس الأمن يدعون لإجراء تحقيقات في حوادث اعتداء على المدارس في إدلب وغرب حلب
Members of the Security Council condemn the attack on the Russian embassy in Damascus
أعضاء مجلس الأمن يدينون هجوما على السفارة الروسية في دمشق
UN condemns the attack on a school in western Aleppo
إدانة أممية للهجوم على مدرسة في الجزء الغربي من حلب
Commission of Inquiry on Syria: the attack on a school in Idlib may constitutes a war crime if it was deliberate
لجنة التحقيق بشأن سوريا: الهجوم على مجمع مدارس في إدلب سيعد جريمة حرب إن كان متعمدا
UN calls for an immediate investigation into the attack on a school in Idlib
الأمم المتحدة تدعو إلى إجراء تحقيق فوري في الهجوم على مدرسة بإدلب
Gordon Brown: the attack on the school in Idlib could be a war crime
غوردون براون: الهجوم على مدرسة في إدلب يمكن أن يكون جريمة حرب، ويمثل تدنيا همجيا جديدا
UN Humanitarian Chief Stephen O’Brien appeals to the Secuirty Council to take action to save Syria
أوبراين: سوريا قد تفقد قريبا صفة “الدولة”
OCHA Syria @OCHA_Syria- 31 October
Now delivering food, health, nutrition and education supplies for 30,000 people in hard-to-reach #Qudsaya #Syria with @UN @SYRedCrescent
OCHA Syria @OCHA_Syria- 29 October
Mission completed, as @UN @SYRedCrescent @ICRC_sy exit east #Harasta #Syria after delivering humanitarian aid for 11,000 people
United Nations Retweeted -28 October
UN News Centre✔@UN_News_Centre
.@UN #SecurityCouncil also condemned again ‘in strongest terms’ use of any toxic chemical as a weapon in #Syria
Through its four Family Support Offices in Syria, UNRWA provides young Palestine refugee women with counselling, psychosocial support and legal advices on a range of protection issues, including early marriage and domestic violence.
Photo Caption: Nisreen, victim of domestic violence, at the Family Support Office in Alliance, Syria.
© 2016 UNRWA Photo by Taghrid Mohammad
Did you know that 430,000 Palestine refugees in Syria rely completely on UNRWA humanitarian assistance? To support the Agency’s emergency response in Syria, donate on: http://www.unrwa.org/donate%20#Syria5Years#RememberUs%20#WithRefugees
Social media campaigns
@ShareTheMeal: In April 2016, the World Food Programme launched its phone application to support fundraising efforts for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. ShareTheMeal’s fundraising aims to support 1,400 refugee children. Through the app, smartphone users can join thousands of other people in making donations and support a selected community and monitor progress. Since the launch of the campaign, nearly 7.5 million meals have been shared.
#RememberUs – #Syria5Years is an advocacy and fundraising campaign to tell the story of Palestine refugees in Syria after five years of armed conflict. In the last five years, the Palestine refugees of Syria have been experiencing tremendous hardship with over 60 per cent of the 560,000 registered with UNRWA displaced throughout Syria and further afield. Through the campaign, UNRWA remembers the victims to the Syrian conflict, in particular the Palestine refugees, many of whom have lost their communities, family members, houses and livelihoods.
#MyVoiceMySchool- #Myvoicemyschool, running for a second year, is an educational project linking Palestine refugee youth in Syria with their peers in England and Belgium.
Through live video conversations and customized teaching materials, students and teachers explore how education can help them meet their future aspirations.
#IamSyrian is a global engagement campaign on social media launched by the World Food Programme (WFP) at the London Syria conference in February 2016. It offers global citizens the opportunity to show solidarity with the Syrian people by sharing their stories, sending messages of support and demonstrating how the world continues to care about their plight. The campaign will culminate in an exhibition at the UN General Assembly in September 2016.
#Unite4Heritage is a global movement run by UNESCO that aims to celebrate and safeguard cultural heritage and diversity around the world. Launched in response to the unprecedented attacks on world heritage sites, the campaign calls on everyone to stand up against extremism and radicalization by celebrating the places, objects and cultural traditions that make the world such a rich and vibrant place.
Relevant links to UN Secretariat, Agencies, Funds and Programmes on Syria
DPI Focus Page on Syria:
UN System agencies :
OCHA: http:/unocha.org/syria, twitter.com/ocha_syria, facebook.com/UNOCHA.Syria
UNESCO Emergency Safeguarding of the Syrian Cultural Heritage Project: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/beirut/areas-of-action/culture/syria/emergency-safeguarding-of-the-syrian-heritage/
UNESCO Observatory of Syrian Cultural Heritage https://en.unesco.org/syrian-observatory/
UNESCO Bridging Learning Gaps for Youth: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/syria-crisis-response/bridging-learning-gaps/
UN on social media: