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The inclusion of women in peace talks is not just essential to building sustainable peace based on the needs and concerns of all Syrians. It is a basic democratic right and essential for lasting peace. By including the perspectives of half the population, the path is paved for a society built on the principles of inclusion and justice.
In our close work with Syrian women, we have heard their repeated calls to be included in the delegations and negotiations, and I would like to commend your efforts in this regard as well.
Of course, the needs are enormous, and we must do more as UN Women, and the UN system as a whole, to support Syrian women.
Makeshift clinics have proliferated in the rebel-held north, but shifting battle lines have made it harder to keep them hidden from government forces or separated from rebel operations, said Syrian doctors and international medical groups.
Five of the six field clinics in the north were hit by government airstrikes this fall, doctors at three of the hospitals said.
The al-Bab Hospital, which sits in a town in Aleppo province now controlled by al Qaeda-linked rebels, has been bombed five times, medics at the hospital said. Its medical staff has relocated from one building to another so many times they now keep much of their equipment in ready-to-move boxes.
Some 50 international doctors, including the heads of global medical bodies, warned that Syria's health services were at "a breaking point," in a letter published in the medical journal The Lancet in September. The war, doctors said, is restricting medical care for millions of Syrians on all sides.
"Systematic assaults on medical professionals, facilities, and patients are breaking Syria's health care system and making it nearly impossible for civilians to receive essential medical services," the letter said.
A U.N. panel said Thursday it believes the Syrian government is committing a crime against humanity by making people, most of them young men, systematically vanish, and that rebels have also recently begun making their opponents disappear.
The expert panel said it found "a consistent country-wide pattern" of Syrian security, armed forces and pro-government militia seizing people in mass arrests or house searches and at checkpoints and hospitals, then making them disappear — and denying that the people exist.
The disappearances are "part of a widespread campaign of terror against the civilian population," and amount to a crime against humanity, the U.N. Syria war crimes panel, chaired by Brazilian diplomat and scholar Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, reported. The panel pressed Syria's government to provide information on the whereabouts of missing individuals and called on both sides to stop the practice.
The civil war in Syria presents so many staggering figures — millions of refugees, billions of dollars in destruction — looking back to its beginning in the spring of 2011.
But there is one number that seems to encapsulate the tragedy like no other: 11,420.
That's the number of children killed in the conflict, according to the independent Oxford Research Group in London.
Enforced disappearances are being committed on a wide scale throughout Syria as part of a campaign of intimidation and as a tactic of war, according to a report published today by the United Nations panel investigating human rights violations in the country.
"Without a trace: enforced disappearances in Syria", the second thematic report by the independent international Commission of Inquiry on Syria, concludes that there are reasonable grounds to believe that acts of enforced disappearances were committed by Government forces as part of widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population amounting to a crime against humanity.
The report is an attempt to shed light on this largely overlooked trend which has persisted since the beginning of the uprising in Syria and draws on first-hand interviews conducted by the Commission over the period between March 2011 and November 2013.
Investigations uncovered a consistent country-wide pattern in which people, mainly adult males, have been seized by the Syrian security and armed forces, as well as by pro-Government militias, during mass arrests, house searches, at checkpoints and in hospitals. The Government has perpetuated a system of arrests and incommunicado detention that is conducive to enforced disappearances. In some instances, the disappearances appeared to have a punitive element, targeting family members of defectors, activists, fighters as well as those believed to be providing medical care to the opposition.
Syrian Kurds are demanding their own delegation separate from both the government and opposition at next month's peace talks in Switzerland aimed at halting the conflict in Syria, Kurdish political leaders said on Thursday.
The Kurds say they need independent representation because their demands in negotiations over Syria's future are distinct from those of the government or the opposition Syrian National Coalition that seeks to end President Bashar al-Assad's rule.
"The Coalition are no different from Assad's Baath party rule when it comes to their position on the Kurds. They do not recognize the rights of Kurds to live on their land with recognition of their basic rights, including the right to administer their own region," said Abdelsalam Ahmed, a leading figure in the Democratic Union Party (PYD).
Syrian activists and other citizens have vanished into secret detention as part of a "widespread campaign of terror against the civilian population" by the Damascus government, U.N. investigators said on Thursday.
The state-run practice of enforced disappearances in Syria - abductions that are officially denied - is systematic enough to amount to a crime of humanity, they said in a report.
Some armed groups in northern Syria, especially the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), have also begun to abduct people into incommunicado detention and denied their captivity, tantamount to the crime of enforced disappearances, it said.
ISIL has also sought ransoms or prisoner exchanges, which constitute separate war crimes, it added.
This is the largest single contribution UNHCR has received from the European Union. This assistance will allow UNHCR to provide vital support to those most impacted by the largest humanitarian crisis the world is facing. Today's announcement comes two days after the UN and partners launched an appeal for US$6.5 billion for Syria, the largest amount requested for a single humanitarian emergency."We must do whatever we can to help those who have lost everything through this conflict. One of UNHCR's priorities is to bolster support in the neighboring countries during the winter, where the vast majority of Syrian refugees live and where needs are greater than ever. UNHCR welcomes the support from the European Union," said High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Kristalina Georgieva said "Our collaboration with the major UN agencies is vital to the overall relief assistance being provided by Europe for this terrible crisis. Working together has enabled us to reach many of the millions of men, women and children who are suffering as a result of this tragic conflict."Over 2.3 million people have fled Syria since the beginning of the conflict in March 2011, in one of the largest refugee exoduses in recent history, while 6.5 million people are displaced inside Syria. The EU's contribution will support the work of UNHCR and its partners in providing humanitarian assistance to people displaced in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.
In his first-ever televised interview, Abu Mohammed al-Joulani, the leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, ruled out peace talks with President Bashar al-Assad and warned that Arab states should be cautious of the recent improvement of Iran-US ties.
"The battle is almost over, we have covered about 70 percent of it, and what's left is small. We will achieve victory soon. We pray to God to culminate these efforts with victory. It's only a matter of days," he said in an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera's Tayseer Allouni from an undisclosed location in Syria.
Al-Joulani added that al-Nusra - designated by the UN, the US and other western countries as a terrorist organisation - would not accept the outcome of the upcoming international conference in Geneva scheduled for January.
For the interview with Al Jazeera, al-Joulani asked that his face be hidden because of security fears. Little is known about the Al-Qaeda leader, but it is believed that he had joined the self-declared jihadist group several years ago to fight US forces in Iraq.
The internal armed conflict between government forces and the opposition, composed of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other armed opposition groups, was marked by gross human rights abuses, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Government forces, which were responsible for the vast majority of violations, carried out indiscriminate attacks on residential areas using aircraft, artillery shells, mortars, incendiary weapons and cluster bombs. Together with their support militias, they arrested thousands of people, including children, subjecting many to enforced disappearance.Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees were commonplace; at least 550 were reported to have died in custody, many after torture. Others were extrajudicially executed. Security forces’ snipers continued to shoot peaceful anti-government demonstrators and people attending public funerals. Health workers treating the wounded were targeted. A climate of impunity reigned both for past and ongoing gross human rights violations. Armed groups fighting against the government also committed gross abuses, including war crimes.They tortured and/or summarily killed government soldiers and militia members after taking them prisoner and carried out indiscriminate bombings that killed or injured civilians. Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes; the UN estimated that over 2 million people were internally displaced and living under conditions of extreme hardship within Syria, and that since the beginning of the conflict almost 600,000 had fled as refugees to neighbouring countries, where conditions were often harsh. It was not possible to confirm whether any death sentences were imposed or if executions were carried out.
HOW ARE THE CHEMICALS GETTING TO PORT?
This is one of the most risky stages of the operation. Uzumcu says Syria has drawn up a plan for transporting chemicals from 12 storage sites to the port of Latakia.
While there will be no foreign troops on the ground to help secure the transport, countries are sending vital equipment.
The United States is supplying nearly 3,000 container drums, loading, transportation, and decontamination equipment. Washington also is providing GPS locators that will let authorities track the chemicals. Russia is providing large capacity and armored trucks, water tanks, and other logistical supplies. It has also indicated the possibility of helping with security for cargo operations at the port and in Syrian territorial waters. China is providing surveillance cameras and 10 ambulances.
Syrian warplanes dumped explosive-laden barrel bombs over opposition-held parts of the northern city of Aleppo on Wednesday, the fourth day of a relentless offensive to drive rebels out of the contested city, activists said.
The assault has killed more than 165 people in the first three days, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group.
The intensity of the campaign suggests that President Bashar Assad's government is trying to crush opposition in Aleppo, Syria's largest city and once its commercial hub, ahead of an international peace conference scheduled for late January in Switzerland.
Aleppo has been a major front in Syria's civil war since the rebels launched an offensive there in mid-2012, and the city has since been carved into opposition- and government-held areas.
The highlights of the plan are the decisions of a number of States Parties to provide crucialand substantial assistance. As I announced in my statement to the Council on 29 November,the United States of America will provide facilities necessary to neutralise the prioritychemicals on board one of its vessels at sea.Denmark and Norway will provide vessels and military escorts for the maritimetransportation of the Syrian chemicals, and subsequently for the transportation of chemicalsthat are to be disposed of at commercial facilities. Finland has offered chemical weaponsemergency-response capabilities. Italy has decided to offer a port for the transloading of thepriority chemicals from the Danish-Norwegian vessel to the United States ship.For the transportation of chemicals from the storage sites to the port of Latakia, States Partieshave similarly provided or committed essential materials and equipment. Apart fromsupplying nearly 3000 container drums of various capacities, the United States of America isproviding GPS locators, loading, transportation, and decontamination equipment. TheRussian Federation is providing large capacity and armoured trucks, water tanks, and otherlogistical supplies. It has also indicated the possibility of further monetary or materialassistance, as well as security for cargo operations at the port and in Syrian territorial waters.China is providing surveillance cameras and 10 ambulances. Once again, these contributionsare specific to the transportation and destruction of Syrian chemical weapons outside itsterritory.
The Syrian government has refused to issue a visa to a South Korean chemical-weapons inspector with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to join its personnel rotation there, according to the diplomats, who have knowledge of the matter and asked not to be identified because they're not authorized to discuss it.The Chemical Weapons Convention, the global treaty on chemical arms destruction that Syria signed on Oct. 14, doesn't permit members to screen inspectors by nationality, and doing so may constitute non-compliance under both the convention and the disarmament agreement brokered by the U.S. and Russia.The inspector’s visa trouble undercuts public reports by Sigrid Kaag, the head of the joint UN-OPCW mission, of "constructive cooperation" by the Assad regime. Two of the four diplomats said Kaag privately notified the South Korean government of her failure to negotiate the inspector's travel papers during a Nov. 25-30 visit to Damascus, and also said it would be difficult to secure them in the future.The inspector awaiting a visa to travel to Syria is a former South Korean defense ministry official, according to a South Korean official who wasn't authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be named.