Historical archive

Norway urges Security Council to respond decisively to situation in Syria

Historical archive

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

“Norway condemns the increasingly brutal attacks against the Syrian population and the recent use of Scud missiles, and I urge the Security Council to respond decisively,” said Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide.

“Norway condemns the increasingly brutal attacks against the Syrian population and the recent use of Scud missiles, and I urge the Security Council to respond decisively,” said Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide. 

The UN estimates that more than 70 000 Syrians have been killed since the conflict started in 2011, and that more than 40 000 are fleeing their homes every week. Millions have been internally displaced. Many of those remaining in Syria are being subjected to indescribable violence. The Syrian regime has started targeting civilians directly with ballistic Scud missiles and fragmentation bombs. Respect for fundamental humanitarian principles is virtually non-existent, and more than half of Syria’s public hospitals have been damaged in the hostilities. Gross abuses have also been carried out by parts of the Syrian opposition.  

“UN reports of the systematic use of sexual violence against women, children and men on the part of the regime give cause for alarm. In our efforts to help the victims of violence in Syria, we also attach great importance to helping the victims of this form of abuse. 

“The attacks on the civilian population cannot go unpunished. Those responsible for serious war crimes must be held accountable. I therefore urge the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court,” said Mr Eide. 

The members of the Security Council, particularly the permanent members, bear a particular responsibility for the international community’s inability to respond effectively. The failure to send a united message to the parties to the conflict means that not enough pressure has been put on the Assad regime to stop its abuses. Nor has it been possible to send a clear message to all the parties to stop the violence. In other words there is no united political message to the many groups that make up the Syrian opposition. The members of the Security Council must, without delay, agree on a common approach and draw up joint measures to put an end to the bloodshed. 

Norway has an ongoing dialogue with the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, and has frequently urged it to respect humanitarian principles, including protection of health workers in armed conflict. 

Since the conflict started in 2011, Norway has provided NOK 425 million in humanitarian assistance to the civilian victims of the conflict in Syria.