Statement by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the Situation in Homs, Syria, April 17, 2014
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The United States is deeply concerned about the Syrian government’s violent offensive on the Old City of Homs and the neighborhood of Al-Waer, and that the breakdown in negotiations on a comprehensive agreement on safe passage for those trapped in the city may be part of a concerted military strategy to intensify the regime’s onslaught against the beleaguered and besieged city. Many civilians are trapped inside the city and need humanitarian assistance, which besieging Syrian regime forces have obstructed. Starve or surrender tactics are but one of the regime’s brutal methods of war.
When the UN Security Council adopted the resolution on humanitarian assistance for Syria, it spoke unambiguously with one voice. We demanded the Syrian government facilitate immediate and unhindered access for UN humanitarian agencies, for an end to the use of gruesome weapons such as barrel bombs, and called on all parties to lift all sieges. The Assad regime has failed to comply.
The situation in the Old City of Homs is dire. The United States appeals to all those UN Member States with influence on Damascus to pressure the regime to return to the negotiating table with the opposition’s Negotiating Committee. UN agencies need humanitarian access now; it is imperative that those who want to leave Homs are able to do so quickly and safely.