By Nathan Morley
A UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria has said in its latest report that no Syrian family had been left ‘unscathed’ by the conflict in the country.
UN Human Rights Council-appointed investigators revealed that more than 60 separate probes were currently underway outside Syria, backed by thousands of interviews and information on alleged individual perpetrators.
At the same time, Commission of Inquiry Chair Paolo Pinheiro led renewed calls for a ceasefire in Syria, whilst urging the international community to expend efforts to support a peaceful, negotiated resolution to the conflict.
The goal, he said, was to help place Syria on a path toward a stable future.
In their report, the Commission stated that more than half of the pre-conflict population had been internally or externally displaced.
In blunt language, Pinheiro said the population of Syria had paid the price as the Government unleashed ‘overwhelming violence to quell dissent’. Those in urban areas had endured aerial and artillery bombardments and chemical weapons attacks, along with sieges leading to starvation and restrictions on humanitarian aid.
Commissioner Hanny Megally said progress was also needed for families whose relatives had been detained, often disappearing without a trace.
The Commission stated that for the last decade, humanitarian aid had been consistently delayed or denied – despite the clear needs of so many Syrians, as well as Palestinian and other refugees.
Regarding the spread of the Coronavirus, Commissioner Karen Koning AbuZayd asserted that infections were already overwhelming the remaining medical staff and frontline workers in the country, where hospitals and clinics have been vastly diminished.
Separately, the World Food Programme says the number of Syrians who lack access to sufficient food has reached a record 12.4 million, or nearly 60 per cent of the population.
As it stands, the cost of basic foods to feed a family for a month - including bread, rice and lentils –exceeds average salaries.