March 26 – The Syrian government continues to impede the delivery of lifesaving medicines despite a Feb. 19 Security Council resolution demanding that it not hinder the delivery of humanitarian supplies.
Resolution 2139 demanded that the government and non-state armed groups respect the principle of medical neutrality but a report by Ban Ki-moon one month after the adoption of the resolution says that the regime continues to delay urgent medical supplies.
“On 24 February, a World Health Organization shipment of medicines and medical supplies destined for Ar-Raqqa and Deir-ez-Zor governorates was held up at the government-controlled Sukhnah checkpoint in Palmyra,” the report states. “The shipment destined for Ar-Raqqa governorate was released on 5 March and reached its destination on 8 March.”
Ban’s report says that armed opposition groups are also violating the resolution.
“On 3 March, volunteers from the Aleppo branch of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent were beaten and harassed by armed opposition groups.”
One bright spot in the report is that 2.8 million children under 5 years of age have received polio vaccines.
The Syrian government continues to impose restrictive administrative hurdles, such as demanding a 72-hour advance request for humanitarian convoys, and is delaying the issuing of visas for humanitarian workers.
“One month since the adoption of Security Council resolution 2139 (2014), humanitarian access in the Syrian Arab Republic remains extremely challenging for humanitarian organizations,” Ban’s report concludes. “Delivering lifesaving items, in particular medicines, remains difficult. The assistance reaching people continues to fall far short of what is required to cover even their basic needs.”
The report also says that in addition to the well more than 100,000 people who have been killed since March 2011, at least 600,000 more have been injured.
The full report is here.
– Denis Fitzgerald
On Twitter @denisfitz