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Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Syria - Political

Thank you President, and thank you Special Envoy Pedersen and Under Secretary Griffiths for your very stark briefings today. 


I will focus on the political situation in my intervention, as my Norwegian colleague has spoken on behalf of Ireland on humanitarian issues.


Madam President, let me begin by reiterating Ireland’s serious concern about the continuing hostilities on the ground in Syria, particularly given the worrying escalation of hostilities in the north and north-west of the country.

Ireland condemns the series of strikes conducted by pro-government forces earlier this month in Idlib and its environs. These strikes hit several civilian areas and camps that hosted internally displaced persons.


These attacks resulted in the death of at least ten people, including children, and injured at least twenty seven others. At least four hundred families face being newly displaced. This is simply unacceptable and we offer sincere condolences to the families of the victims.


All parties to the conflict are obliged under international law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure. Indiscriminate attacks are unlawful and must cease. Such violations must be investigated without delay in order for perpetrators to be held accountable. We reiterate the urgent need for a nationwide ceasefire in line with Resolution 2254.


We call on all parties to exercise maximum restraint and maintain previously agreed ceasefires.


Madam President, we underscore our condemnation of the killing of two young girls in the Al-Hol Camp earlier this month. The utter barbarity and cruelty perpetrated against the victims serve as a stark reminder of the severe protection challenges in the camp, particularly for women and children. The perpetrators of these heinous crimes must be brought to justice.


Ireland also remains greatly concerned for the plight of those detained and missing in Syria. Tens of thousands of families are forced to suffer in painful limbo without any knowledge of the fate of their loved ones. This will continue to traumatise generations of Syrians to come.


Ireland therefore supports in principle the recommendation of the Secretary General to establish a new international body, which will aim to provide support to families in desperate need of answers on their missing loved ones.

Finally, Madam President, we thank Special Envoy Pedersen for his continued efforts on step-for-step confidence building measures. It is regrettable that Damascus and its allies refuse to meaningfully engage in this process and that the ninth session of the Constitutional Committee is prevented from proceeding in Geneva, in line with the agreed terms of reference.


As highlighted in January, Ireland and European Union Foreign Ministers fully support confidence-building measures and are here to assist you, Geir. We reiterate that only a political solution can bring stability and security for the Syrian people.


All efforts must be fully inclusive and ensure the full, equal and meaningful participation of women. In that regard, we welcome the recent convening of the Women’s Advisory Board and encourage efforts to facilitate the continued involvement of Syrian women in securing a lasting peace.


Thank you, Madam President.

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