Weekly update on the Syrian Crisis

28 August 2014 | News and Media

A Weekly Update from the UN Department of Public Information

No. 57 / 27 August 2014


Both Government and ISIS have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, says Independent Commission of Inquiry

On 27 August, the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria released its latest report, highlighting that both the government and members of extremist group ISIS are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. It said that mass atrocities by Government forces and non-State armed groups also continue to take place in Syria, causing immeasurable suffering to civilians. The report notes that the continuous influx of foreign fighters and the success of extremist groups – such the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – were among the factors which had contributed to a spill-over of violence affecting international peace and stability. The report, which is based on 480 interviews and evidence collected between 20 January and 15 July 2014, also states that, in April and May, Government forces used chemical agents, likely chlorine, in eight separate incidents in western Syria. “Accountability must be part of any future settlement if it is to result in an enduring peace. Too many lives have been lost and shattered,” stated Paulo Pinheiro, the Chairperson of the Commission.



All Syria’s Category 1 Chemicals have been destroyed

In its latest update to the Security Council, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said the completion of the destruction operations aboard US Ship Cape Ray ended a crucial stage in the international maritime operation to remove and destroy Syria’s chemical programme. It emphasized that all category 1 chemicals have now been destroyed. Further, planning for the destruction of the 12 remaining chemical weapons production facilities is expected to be finalized in early September, the OPCW added, noting that it would be a complex undertaking and would require uninterrupted liaison and coordination between all concerned, especially in the context of security.



UNICEF launches the largest emergency supply operation ever in a single month

This August, UNICEF shipped 1,000 metric tonnes of life-saving supplies for children caught in the world’s most urgent crises — the largest emergency supply operation in the organization’s history in a single month. In Syria, UNICEF’s supply response, which began as cargo airlifts four years ago, has evolved into a steady pipeline of supplies that in August included 89 MT of water purification tablets and education kits. UNICEF is also bringing in over 156 MT of health, education, and water supplies for displaced Syrian families in Lebanon and Jordan. Preparation for winter is under way as UNICEF stockpiles children’s winter clothing sourced from local suppliers in the region.



UN facilitates handover of US journalist Theo Curtis to UN peacekeepers

The Spokesperson of the Secretary-General confirmed on 24 August that the United Nations facilitated the handover of US journalist Peter Theo Curtis to UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights on the same day. After receiving a medical check-up, Mr. Curtis was handed over to representatives of his government. The freelance journalist was reportedly abducted near the Syria-Turkey border in October 2012.




Needs of Syrian refugee women grow as crisis escalates in Syria and Iraq – UNFPA

The needs of Syria’s refugee women are mounting as the crises in both Iraq and Syria grow, said UNFPA in a press release on 25 August. According to the agency, over 200,000 Syrian refugees are living in Iraq, having escaped the four-year-long conflict. The combined needs of Syrian refugees and displaced Iraqis have overwhelmed medical facilities and personnel. There are an estimated 218,040 Syrian refugees in Iraq, including 3,859 pregnant women. To ensure that these women have access to the care they need, UNFPA is providing integrated sexual and reproductive health support, including protection services and maternal health care, in seven camps and in host communities.



UNRWA condemns the killing of thirteenth staff member in Syria

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) strongly condemned the parties responsible for the killing of its 13th staff member on 21 August. Mohammad Mizel, a teacher, died when a vehicle he was travelling in was struck by gunfire in Dera’a, in southwestern Syria. Mr. Mizel’s son was also seriously injured in the incident. UNRWA deplored this attack on a UN staff member and the serious physical and psychological harm such incidents continue to cause Palestine refugees across Syria. UNRWA reiterated its demand that all parties to the conflict in Syria comply with their obligations under international law and desist from targeting or otherwise conducting armed conflict in civilian areas.



Select UN stories on web and radio:


UN Twitter account:

Syria’s war threatens intl peace & security – new #CoISyria report is here: http://sm.ohchr.org/1sA8bj4  pic.twitter.com/6qqCyhznST via @UNrightswire

27 August 2014


Retweeted by United Nations

UN Human Rights @UNrightswire

#Syria death toll rises: new UN study shows over 191,000 people killed between March 2011 & April 2014: http://sm.ohchr.org/1BK9oe7



Mass atrocities continue to take place in Syria, causing immeasurable suffering to civilians, according to a new report released by the Commission of Inquiry on Syria: http://sm.ohchr.org/1sA8bj4


The report states that the continuous influx of foreign fighters and the success of extremist groups, such as ISIS (also called ISIL), are among the factors which have contributed to a spill over of violence affecting international peace and stability. “The international community’s failure in its most elementary duties – to protect civilians, halt and prevent atrocities and create a path toward accountability – has been matched on the ground by an abandonment of even the pretence of an adherence to norms of international law. As can be seen today, this has grave implications for the entire region,” the report adds.

27 August 2014


UN Radio in Arabic:

Independent Commission of Inquiry: war crimes are being committed by the Syrian government and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant:



American journalist Theo Peter Curtis released after two years of detention:



Relevant links to UN Secretariat, Agencies, Funds and Programmes on Syria

DPI Focus Page on Syria:



OPCW-UN Joint Mission



UN Humanitarian agencies

UNICEF: http://www.unicef.org/media/index.html

WFP: http://www.wfp.org/countries/syria

OCHA: http://www.unocha.org/crisis/syria

WHO: http://www.who.int/countries/syr/en/

UNHCR: http://www.unhcr.org/pages/4f86c2426.html

OHCHR: http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/NewsSearch.aspx?CID=SY

UNRWA: http://www.unrwa.org/


UN on social media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/UN

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/un_photo/

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/unitednations

Tumblr: http://united-nations.tumblr.com/


Photo galleries:
UNHCR: http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49c3646c25d.html
UNRWA: http://www.unrwa.org/photogallery.php
OCHA: http://www.unocha.org/media-resources/photo-gallery
UNICEF: http://www.unicef.org/photography/photo_2013.php#UNI82253
IRIN: http://www.irinnews.org/photo/