The UN Security Council discussed Monday the crisis of the besieged cities in Syria after several media outlets reported on tens of thousands of besieged civilians for months.
The meeting came upon a request from France, Spain, and New Zealand.
New Zealand’s ambassador to the UN said starvation is one of the ugliest landmarks of the Syrian conflict. Further, the UN and the Red Cross noted that several nutrition supplies arrived near some of the besieged cities on the Syrian-Lebanese border.
US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power criticised what she described as the “provocative tactics of the Syrian regime against its own people”, comparing the images coming from those besieged cities to those of World War II.
UK permanent representative to the UN Mathew Rycroft said the siege must be lifted to save the civilians as quickly as possible.
Syrian permanent representative to the UN Bashar Al Ja’afary confirmed that his country is ready to collaborate to deliver any aid, but claimed that much of the information and pictures of the situation is Madaya is not credible. Al Ja’afary further claimed that militants had stolen some of the aid that was supposed to be delivered.
The UN agreed on a resolution on 18 December that calls for peace talks and to allow all humanitarian organisations to reach any location in Syria.
Syrian opposition leaders told the UN that they will not participate in the negotiation with the regime scheduled for later this month until this siege is lifted.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it asked the Syrian government to allow them to send medical teams to Madaya to evaluate the malnutrition and to evacuate some people.
The first medical shipment in months arrived to Madaya on Monday.
WHO representative in Damascus Elizabeth Hoff visited Madaya Monday and said the organisation needs to evaluate the situation in the 42,000-inhabitanted city, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Syria needs to work on a new constitution as a first step to reach a political agreement for its five-year civil war.
“Based on the new constitution, they must carry out new presidential and parliamentary elections in Syria,” he said.
Putin said, in his interview with German newspaper Bild, that the tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia will make the talks over Syria more complicated.
Putin’s troops in Syria are helping some of moderate opposition against “Islamic State” (IS) in addition to supporting the regime. “You speak about Assad as an ally to us. Do you know that we support some of the opposition in its war against IS? We support their operations in several locations by our air force,” he said.
Russia has been carrying out operations in Syria since September.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that Russia is preparing the international community to form a small sovereign area inside Syria in the province of Latakia and is carrying out raids on Turkmen (ethnic Turks) living there.
Erdogan also said, in a speech in Ankara, that Russia is using the latest developments in countries like Syria, Yemen, and Iraq to expand its sphere of influence.