The members of the International Syria Support Group met in New York on Tuesday. The situation in Syria is one of the focal topics on the agenda of the 71st UN General Assembly. On Monday, the regime in Syria had declared the ceasefire to be over. Many people died in an air strike on a humanitarian convoy.
Attack on aid convoy strongly condemned
The meeting of the International Syria Support Group was held the day before the UN Security Council session on Syria. Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement with regard to the recent events: “Just a few days ago, it looked as if the long, painstaking and arduous negotiations between the Americans and Russians had, in the sixth year of this conflict, finally resulted in a ceasefire that not only guarantees humanitarian access to alleviate the suffering of the population, but which also paves the way for a return to political talks on the future of Syria.” All of these efforts had now come undone in the last few days. Foreign Minister Steinmeier said the following concerning the attack on the humanitarian convoy: “This attack is a despicable terrorist act that we condemn in the strongest possible terms.”
United Nations calls for enquiry
Following the attack on one of its convoys, the United Nations has suspended all aid deliveries in Syria until further notice. A number of aid organisation staff were killed in the course of the attack. According to UN reports, the lorries that made up the convoy were bombarded in a town southwest of Aleppo, killing 20 people.
UN Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien called for an enquiry and for all parties to the conflict to undertake all of the necessary steps to protect humanitarian aid workers and civilians, as well as civilian infrastructure, in accordance with international law. Meanwhile, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura declared his enormous outrage at this attack.
Syria high up on the agenda at General Assembly
After the meeting of the Support Group in New York, Steinmeier said the following: “It was clear to everyone that we are – once again – at a crossroads for Syria. I made clear that there is only one practicable path to a political settlement for Syria, that is, to keep on trying first to reduce the level of violence in the country.” Recent events, the Foreign Minister said, made it all the more apparent that Syria must be a key topic of the 71st UN General Assembly. He called on the regional powers to do more to halt the spiral of violence in Syria. Intensive negotiations would be necessary in the coming days in order to achieve this, he said. He added that the Support Group “planned to meet again on Friday morning to see how the ceasefire, and thus the agreements between the US and Russia, can be held”.