H.E. Dr. Bashar Jaafari Statement at the Security Council, 16-3-2018

Al-Jaafari: Damascus continues evacuating civilians from Ghouta while terrorists still use them as human shields

16 March، 2018
New York, SANA

Syria’s Permanent Representative at the UN Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari said on Friday that the Syrian government cares about the lives of its citizens and is continuing to take measures to protect them, while the terrorist organizations continue to use them as human shields in Ghouta.

During a session of the UN Security Council on the situation in Syria, al-Jaafari said “I conveyed to the UNSC members on March 12th a presentation of the measures taken by the Syrian government to alleviate the suffering of Syrian civilians on the Syrian territory as a result of the practices of the armed terrorist groups. I reiterate here that the Syrian government cares about the lives of its citizens and it continues to take all measures to ensure their security and safety.”

Al-Jaafari said that the Syrian government has opened three safe corridors in Ghouta (Hamoryia, Jisreen and al-Wafideen) in order to help bring out civilians who were taken by terrorist groups as human shields, adding that more than 40,000 civilians exited Eastern Ghouta on Thursday, and they were received by the Syrian Arab Army and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) who transported them safely to well-equipped makeshift housing centers.

He added that an aid convoy presented by the UN, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and loaded with 340 tons of food and medical supplies has entered Eastern Ghouta, adding that the Syrian state will continue to facilitate the dispatch of these convoys whenever security conditions prevail.

In contrast to these measures taken by the Syrian government to protect its citizens, the armed terrorist groups, backed by well-known countries, continue to use civilians in Eastern Ghouta as human shields and prevent them from exiting the area through the corridors by targeting them with gunfire and shells.

“Surprisingly, in view of this heavy burden on the Syrian government in implementing the UNSC resolution no.2401 to meet the needs of civilians exiting from the hell of terrorism in Eastern Ghouta, the UN agencies operating in Damascus, including the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), did not make any material or moral contribution to alleviate the suffering of tens of thousands of civilians who fled from terrorists. Around one hundred thousand civilians from Afrin were displaced in and a similar number of people exited Eastern Ghouta, yet we saw no one extending a helping hand to those civilians,” al-Jaafari stated.

He warned that giving the opportunity for terrorist groups, including the so-called “White Helmets” which are affiliated to Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organization, to use the Security Council as a podium constitutes a flagrant violation of UNSC resolutions, particularly those related to combating terrorism, adding “the biggest scandal is that a UN agency operating in Damascus demanded the evacuation of 76 members of White Helmets from Eastern Ghouta, while paying no attention to the lives of thousands of civilians.”

Al-Jaafari called on the UNSC to invite civilians from Raqqa, al-Fouaa, Kefraya, Afrin, and Eastern Ghouta and to listen to their accounts about that horrible acts committed by US-led coalition, Turkish regime, and terrorist organizations against civilians and infrastructure in their areas in blatant violation of all norms of international law.

Syria’s Representative said that if the Western states at the Council that falsely claim to care about Syrians had done one thousandth of what Russia has done in terms of respecting international law, the UN Charter, and UNSC resolutions on counter-terrorism, terrorism would not have appear in Syria and other countries in the first place.

Al-Jaafari reaffirmed the Syrian government’s firm stance which is that resolving the crisis in Syria is done via a political solution based on intra-Syrian dialogue led by Syria without foreign interference and without preconditions.

He stressed that the success of the political process and the improvement of the humanitarian situation in a concrete way will depend on the existence of a climate of international and regional commitment to fighting terrorism in Syria seriously and away from politicization.

Manar al-Freih / Hazem Sabbagh