Russia's Approach To Humanitarian Problems In Syria
The Syrian conflict has unfolded into a horrific humanitarian disaster that should be dealt with through joint effort by all parties involved. On its part, Russia has been providing humanitarian assistance for the people of Syria ever since the conflict started. We have been doing this jointly with the Syrian Government as well as through the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UN Refugee Agency, the UN Development Program and other authorized international agencies. We are in contact with Damascus to facilitate activities of the UN agencies and NGOs in Syria. The Russian Air Forces in Syria started on 15 January, 2016 its own humanitarian mission. Humanitarian assistance is also sent to Syria by Russia's NGOs (for more details read at: http://www.rusemb.org.uk/fnapr/5402).
It is obvious that due to the conflict and spread of terrorism the humanitarian potential of the Syrian Government is limited to the areas under its control. Even under these circumstances, Damascus provides vital social and economic services in uncontrolled regions, providing inhabitants with water and electricity, paying out wages and welfare benefits.
Humanitarian problems are to be a subject of but not a precondition for the forthcoming intra-Syrian negotiations in Geneva on the basis of the UNSC Resolution 2254. A solution of the humanitarian crises is to be pursued by each party to the conflict as well as "external players". It will not be an overstatement to say that the best way to put an end to the human suffering in Syria and beyond is to reach a political settlement starting with cease-fire and accompanied by international reconstruction assistance. But terrorists with their barbaric agenda have to be isolated and defeated first.
Attention should also be paid to the areas where people are under siege by the opposition and terrorists. About 250,000 are trapped in the city of Deir-el-Zour,
which is surrounded by the ISIS jihadists. "Jabhat al-Nusra" and the Islamic group "Ahrar al-Sham" laid siege to the two villages in Syria's northern Idlib province -Kafraya and Fua. 80,000 people have been blocked in Nubul and Az-Zahra in Aleppo province.
Meanwhile, there is evidence provided by NGOs that the Syrian authorities closely cooperate with the United Nations and a number of NGOs in providing humanitarian aid to the people of Syria. Thus, the Syrian Government meets its obligations specified in the UNSC "humanitarian" resolutions. At the same time, antigovernment forces have often been breaking the Istanbul cease-fire agreement achieved on 24 September, 2015. Terrorists have been using civilians as a "human shield". Militants on regular basis have been refusing the access to the UN officials to the besieged areas.
It is worth mentioning that the sanctions and embargoes imposed by the West on Syria is a major factor of the dire humanitarian situation. I wonder if this issue will be brought up at the forthcoming "humanitarian" conference on Syria in London.