In a monthly briefing to the UN Security Council, UN Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen warned of continued escalation and continued suffering and violence on Syrians.
“The past month alone has witnessed airstrikes in Idlib that have killed civilians, damaged infrastructure, mutual shelling across front lines, outbreaks of hostilities in the northeast, and improvised explosive device attacks that killed civilians in northern Syria,” Pedersen said.
In the south, Pedersen noted “continued violence, an increasing number of security incidents related to drug trafficking, and Daesh/ISIS attacks.”
“14 million Syrians now need humanitarian assistance. More than 12 million Syrians remain displaced, many of whom now face harsh winter conditions. Tens of thousands are detained, kidnapped, or missing.”
“The Syrian economy has collapsed and crime is flourishing,” he said, pointing out that many young people are seeking to leave the country and get a chance outside Syria, making them targets to human traffickers and warlords.
Pedersen described the state of education in Syria as deteriorating, as are institutions and infrastructure in all areas.
With regards to finding a political solution to peace, Pedersen said there has been a strategic impasse for two years.
“There is no actor or group of actors who can determine the course or outcome of the conflict,” he said, stressing that “none of the conflict’s parties can resolve it through a military solution.”
He called for “serious diplomatic discussions on a range of steps that could begin to influence the dynamics of the conflict, build some trust between and among Syrians and international stakeholders, and make step-by-step progress within the framework of Resolution 2254.”
Finally, Pedersen reiterated his readiness to hold a seventh meeting of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva as soon as an understanding is reached.