UN officials warn Syria’s war is becoming ‘deeply entrenched’

Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011 when the regime violently cracked down on pro-democracy protests [Getty]

The UN on Thursday warned of the humanitarian and societal consequences of “entrenched division” in Syria as a political solution to the conflict remains elusive.

Geir O. Pedersen, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, told the UN Security Council that Syria remains “trapped in a profound crisis”.

“Syrians themselves are sounding the alarm bells on the risks of this entrenched division and the absence of genuine political process,” he said.

The division outlined include the security tensions between armed groups governing sections of Syria, and within those territories, as well as the stagnation of a political process to end the conflict.

He added that these divisions are accentuating economic suffering, creating a second generation of Syrian children growing up under unstable conditions, and could lead to further escalations and instability in the future.

He also said there needs to be a solution for Syria’s refugees, many of whom reside in countries bordering Syria and are victim to growing anti-Syrian sentiment, but are not safe to return to their homes.

“No actor on its own can solve the crisis, and none of the existing diplomatic groupings can either. Constructive international diplomacy with the contribution of all is the only way forwards,” he said.

According to the envoy, the crisis has only been worsened by Israeli airstrikes inside Syria. He warned that the lack of political process will only cause grave risks for Syrians, calling for a deeseclation across all sides of the conflict. 

Worsening humanitarian crisis

The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths also commented on the humanitarian crisis in the country, saying that 16.7 million people now require humanitarian assistance, the highest since the conflict began.

The World Food Programme estimates that the cost of living in Syria has risen by 104 percent.

Syria’s civil war has been ongoing for 13 years following the violent crackdown of pro-democracy protests by the regime.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, estimates at least 507,000 people have been killed since the war began.

Although frontlines in the war remain largely static, violence is still prevalent across the country, including on the frontline between the government and opposition.

Additionally, insurgencies are ongoing in territory controlled by both the Syrian regime and Syrian Democratic Forces, with protest movements ongoing in regime-held Suweida, and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham controlled Idlib.

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