Letter to the UN Security Council Members on the escalation of violence in Daraa
(VDSF – 18 August 2021) Since June 24, around 50,000 civilians have been besieged and under heavy bombardment in Dara’a Al-Balad with all humanitarian services, medical care, food production, and the delivery of medicine and basic needs halted. The intensity of the shelling has forced 24,000 people so far to be displaced to nearby areas. The mobilisation of more military forces towards the city indicates the tendency for the expansion of the military operations in similar tactics used before in Homs, Aleppo, Ghouta, and other cities in rural Damascus. Local communities have communicated that they are anxious about the worst-case scenario that the current offensive may expand to all Dara’a districts resulting in a wider-scale humanitarian crisis, forcibly displacing tens of thousands of Syrians.
We condemn the repeated violation of the International Humanitarian Law by the Syrian government in indiscriminate attacks on civilians, women, and children as well as the prevention and interruption of the safe and timely delivery of medical services, food, and humanitarian aid during an imminent humanitarian catastrophe.
Voices for Displaced Syrians Forum (VDSF) calls upon the UN Security Council to urgently demand the following:
1. Take immediate action to stop the recent aggression carried out by the Syrian Government and its allies against Daraa al-Balad and neighbouring areas and ensure the protection of civilians from indiscriminate attacks.
2. Ensure the safety of civilians is guaranteed at their home locations without justification for forced displacement that is being proposed as a bargain for safety.
3. Urge the Syrian authorities to lift the siege imposed on more than 50,000 people, depriving them of the most basic needs, including food, water, and medicine and secure immediate and safe access for UN-led humanitarian operations to reach civilians trapped in Daraa al-Balad.
We recall that UNSC Resolution 2585, which was unanimously passed by the UNSC on July 9, 2021 calls on the increase the cross-line humanitarian operations. Now is the time for action. Russia, as the guarantor of the Dara’a reconciliation agreement, must work with local actors to ensure cross-line humanitarian aid is delivered to the thousands of at-risk Syrians in Daraa and the surrounding region.