Foreign Minister Westerwelle issued the following statement in New York today (2 June) in view of the catastrophic situation affecting the civilian population trapped in the Syrian town of Al-Qusair:
The images and stories coming out of Al-Qusair are horrifying. My urgent appeal to the Syrian Government, and to the rebels, is to protect and respect the lives and property of the civilian population. The Syrian regime must fulfil its obligations under international law and provide the United Nations and international relief organizations with humanitarian access. For this to be possible, a ceasefire is indispensable. The spiral of violence must be stopped.
In the strategically significant town of Al-Qusair, an offensive by government troops supported by members of the Lebanese Hezbollah militia has left thousands of civilians trapped in the crossfire. Food and water supplies have broken down, and medical care is impossible. Urgent appeals have also come from UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, calling on the parties to the conflict to agree a ceasefire so that the civilian population can be provided with humanitarian aid.