UN agencies and international organizations have urged people to join an appeal to end the war in Syria. The groups said the more than 260,000 people who have died in the war need to be seen as more than a statistic.
In a statement called "An appeal to end the suffering in Syria," leaders of international humanitarian organizations on Thursday lamented the fact that the Syrian war was running into its sixth year.
Agencies of the United Nations, including the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN refugee agency UNHCR and international NGOs like CARE and Save the Children participated in the initiative.
"So today, we - leaders of humanitarian organizations and UN agencies - appeal not only to governments but to each of you - citizens around the world - to add your voices in urging an end to the carnage. To urge that all parties reach agreement on a ceasefire and a path to peace," the organizations said.
More than 260,000 people have died since the war began in Syria in 2011, and 13.5 million people inside the country are in desperate need of assistance. "This is not simply a statistic," the appeal said, emphasizing that these were people "whose lives and futures" were in jeopardy.
The war was also damaging to children and young people "who - deprived of education and traumatized by the horrors they have experienced - increasingly see their future shaped only by violence," the statement said.
The leaders called for access for humanitarian organizations to bring immediate relief to Syrians affected by the conflict, monitored ceasefires to allow food and other urgent assistance, a halt on attacks on civilian infrastructures, and freedom of movement for civilians.
"There is no practical reason they could not be implemented if there is the will to do so," the leaders said, adding that "for the sake of the millions of innocents who have already suffered so much… and for the millions more whose lives and futures hang in the balance, we call for action now."
The aid organizations asked citizens to share the message on social media to show their support to end the Syria crisis.
Talks to resolve the Syrian crisis are scheduled for January 25, but the UN's Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said negotiations could be delayed. "I believe we can start talks, perhaps not on the 25th, but we need to maintain the pressure and the momentum," he told CNN in Davos.
According to the UN envoy, Russia, which has been bombing rebel and "Islamic State" strongholds for months, had an interest in seeing the Syrian crisis resolved soon. De Mistura also expressed hope that Iran, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Saudi Arabia would try and "find a compromise" despite their rift.
mg/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)