The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria concluded on Monday that the Syrian government and the UN have failed to help the Syrians following the destructive earthquake that hit the country on Feb. 6.
“Though there were many acts of heroism amid the suffering, we also witnessed a wholesale failure by the Government and the international community, including the United Nations, to rapidly direct life-saving support to Syrians,” Paulo Pinheiro, Chair of the Commission, said.
“They failed to secure agreement on an immediate pause in hostilities. They failed to allow and facilitate life-saving aid through any available route,” according to the Commission.
It noted that “Syrians felt abandoned and neglected”.
“Many voices are rightly calling for an investigation and for accountability.”
A 7.8 magnitude earthquake followed by a 7.6 magnitude quake killed more than 48,000 people and wounded 105,000 others in Türkiye, according to initial figures. Around 6,000 Syrians were killed in Syria.
The earthquake has worsened challenges facing humanitarian organizations in assisting Syrians, especially in opposition-held areas in Idlib, in northwestern Syria. Meanwhile, there are international sanctions imposed on the country, and the roads leading to the sole crossing available before the earthquake were damaged.
The US and the European Union eased sanctions on Syria while Damascus allowed the UN to open the greatest number possible of crossings to facilitate the flow of aid.
“The Government and Syrian National Army both impeded cross-line aid to affected communities, while Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in northwest Syria refused cross-line aid from Damascus,” the Commission said.
“We are currently investigating several allegations of parties to the conflict deliberately obstructing humanitarian aid to the affected communities,” said Commissioner Hanny Megally.
The Commission’s report, prepared before the devastating earthquakes, provides a summary of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law throughout the country during the last six months of 2022.