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At UN, Iran urges end to West's sanctions on Syria, looting of resources

People queue to receive humanitarian aid packages at the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province, on August 18, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

An Iranian envoy to the United Nations has called for an immediate end to Western countries' unilateral sanctions against Syria and their looting of the Arab country’s resources in a bid to help improve the humanitarian situation there.

Speaking at a UN Security Council session on Wednesday, Zahra Ershadi, deputy permanent representative of Iran to the UN, said that the Syrian people have been suffering from "one of the biggest humanitarian problems" in the world for more than 10 years.

“The international community has a serious political and moral responsibility to deal with this dire situation,” she added.

The remarks came after the UN humanitarian affairs chief briefed the Security Council, following a visit to the region at the end of last month. 

Martin Griffiths warned that Syria remains “caught in a downward spiral” and that the country’s humanitarian needs “are greater than they have ever been” while “funding is not keeping pace with the growing needs of Syrians.”

Ershadi underlined the need to implement Security Council Resolution 2585 (2021), which urges all UN member states to respond with practical steps to address the urgent needs of Syrian people in light of the profound socioeconomic and humanitarian impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Funding for humanitarian activities in Syria must be increased. But this alone is not enough. Restoration and reconstruction projects should be accelerated; Unilateral sanctions, which have a devastating role in aggravating the humanitarian situation, must be lifted immediately and completely; the plundering of Syria's oil and wealth should stop; water must not be used as a weapon. And the return of refugees and those displaced must be facilitated,” she said.

“The final solution, of course, is to end the conflict, withdraw all uninvited foreign forces, defeat terrorists, and guarantee Syria's territorial integrity, unity and political independence.”

The Iranian diplomat further stressed that the Islamic Republic will continue to help the Syrian people and the government overcome the challenges they face.

'Bans amount to economic terror, mass: Damascus'

Also, the Syrian permanent representative to the UN told the Security Council session that Western sanctions have led to shortages of food, medicines, medical equipment, electricity and fuel.

“US and EU sanctions are like mass punishment and economic terrorism, greatly undermining Damascus' humanitarian and construction efforts and preventing Syrian citizens from meeting their basic needs,” Bassam Sabbagh said.

He also complained that Turkey is blocking the entry of humanitarian aid convoys to the al-Atarib town in the western Aleppo countryside.

“Improving the situation of the people is conditional on maintaining the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and this is the principle that all Security Council resolutions emphasize,” he added.

The Syrian envoy further called for an end to the illegal foreign military presence on Syrian soil as well as the crimes committed by American and Turkish occupation forces, their support for terrorism and plundering of Syria's resources.

The US and its European Union allies have imposed tough sanctions on Syria, after the militant groups that they long sponsored in their attempts to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad failed to achieve their goals on the battleground.

Syrian government forces have managed to win back control of almost all regions from foreign-backed terrorists.

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