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Syrian civilians not getting promised aid, report says

Updated: 2015-03-13 09:29
By By Associated Press in Beirut, Leanon (China Daily)

21 intl groups claim UN Security Council hasn't implemented 3 resolutions related to civil war

Twenty-one international aid groups sharply criticized the United Nations Security Council in a report on Thursday, saying it had failed to implement three resolutions passed last year seeking to boost humanitarian assistance to Syrian civilians caught up in the country's civil war.

The humanitarian and human rights organizations delivered a "failing grade" to world powers and the broader international community as Syria's uprising against President Bashar Assad entered its fifth year. The conflict, which began with peaceful protests before escalating into a civil war, touched off a devastating humanitarian crisis that has engulfed the broader region.

Since the conflict began, more than 220,000 people have been killed and 1 million wounded. About 3.8 million Syrians have fled and registered as refugees in neighboring countries, while another 7.6 million people are displaced inside Syria. All told, an estimated 12.2 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN.

The spiraling crisis spurred the Security Council - which is usually paralyzed by divisions on Syria - to pass three resolutions last year aimed at increasing humanitarian aid. The latest resolution, approved unanimously in December, extended cross-border aid deliveries to Syrians in rebel-held areas without approval from Damascus.

But the aid groups say diplomacy has not translated into action on the ground.

"The bitter reality is that the Security Council has failed to implement its resolutions," said Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council. "Last year was the darkest year yet in this horrific war. Parties to the conflict have acted with impunity and ignored the Security Council's demands. Civilians are not protected, and their access to relief has not improved."

Andy Baker, the head of Oxfam's response to the Syria crisis, said the UN's words "now ring hollow".

"The last year has seen little concrete action from parties to the conflict and governments with influence to tackle the spiraling humanitarian crisis in Syria," Baker said. "What good is a resolution to a mother whose house has been bombed and children are hungry if it is ignored and undermined?"

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