In response to reports by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs that the Assad regime has agreed to allow aid into the besieged village of Madaya in the coming days, the Syrian National Coalition’s Special Representative to the United Nations, Dr. Najib Ghadbian, said:
“The people of Madaya need immediate, unhindered access to humanitarian aid—and they need it now. The Assad regime has an obligation under international humanitarian law to provide access to all Syrians in need and it has systematically failed in this regard. The Assad regime cannot be trusted to uphold the law in Madaya or anywhere else. As we have seen in Madaya itself, the Assad regime has allowed humanitarian agencies limited access in the past, only to subsequently deny such access and starve innocent civilians. Any agreement by the Assad regime to allow the delivery of humanitarian assistance must be monitored closely by independent authorities, and be met with immediate consequences if and when the Assad regime impedes the delivery of humanitarian aid.
“The decision by the Assad regime to allow access to Madaya demonstrates that the Syrian regime has the power to relieve the humanitarian suffering across Syria, but is wilfully choosing not to. This is a not a choice that Assad should have the power to make. The UN does not require the Assad regime’s permission to enter Madaya—it already has such authority under UN Security Council resolutions 2165, 2191 and 2258, all of which mandate the UN to provide cross-line assistance to Syrians in need. Were the UN to use its mandate across Syria, the suffering of hundreds of thousands of civilians would be relieved, and a political solution for Syria would be made far more likely.”