Security Council Demands 30-day Cessation of Hostilities in Syria to Enable Humanitarian Aid Delivery


Security Council Demands 30-day Cessation of Hostilities in Syria to Enable Humanitarian Aid Delivery, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2401 (2018)
24 February 2018 SC/13221
The Security Council, acting unanimously today, adopted a resolution demanding parties to Syria’s seven-year-long conflict to cease hostilities without delay for at least 30 consecutive days, ensuring a “durable humanitarian pause” to enable weekly humanitarian aid deliveries and medical evacuations of the critically sick and wounded.

By the terms of resolution 2401 (2018), the 15-member Council demanded that, immediately after the start of the cessation of hostilities, all parties would allow safe, unimpeded and sustained access each week for the humanitarian convoys of the United Nations and their implementing partners to all requested areas and populations — particularly the 5.6 million people in 1,244 communities in acute need and the 2.9 million in hard-to-reach and besieged locations, subject to standard United Nations security assessments. It also demanded that the United Nations and its partners be allowed to carry out safe, unconditional medical evacuations, based on medical need and urgency.

The Council further called upon all parties to immediately lift the sieges of populated areas — including in eastern Ghouta, Yarmouk, Foua and Kefraya — and cease depriving civilians of essential food and medicine, which when used as a method of combat was an act prohibited by international humanitarian law. It demanded that the parties enable the rapid, safe and unhindered evacuation of all civilians who wished to leave — underscoring the need for them to agree on humanitarian pauses, days of tranquillity, localized ceasefires and truces — and called for the urgent acceleration of humanitarian mine action throughout Syria.

Affirming that the cessation of hostilities would not apply to military operations against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), Al-Qaida, Al-Nusra Front and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with terrorist groups, as designated by the Council, the organ further called on relevant Member States to coordinate efforts to monitor the cessation of hostilities, building on existing arrangements. It called on all Member States to use their influence with the parties to ensure its implementation and create conditions for a durable and lasting ceasefire.

By other terms of the text, the Council reiterated its demand — reminding the Syrian authorities in particular — that all parties immediately comply with their obligations under international law concerning protecting civilians and medical and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties along with their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities. It also reiterated its demand that they demilitarize medical facilities, schools and other civilian facilities; avoid establishing military positions in populated areas; and desist from attacks directed at civilian objects…