In the past two weeks the UN Security Council has held four sessions focused on Syria, where the UK has joined with other countries in calling on the Syrian regime and its backers, Russia and Iran, to uphold the de-escalation arrangements they have previously agreed in Idlib, and to respect international humanitarian law. We have expressed our support for the UN’s contingency planning, including ensuring it is fully funded: the UK has committed £42 million in new funding, and is urgently considering how further funding could be mobilised. We have also made clear that we will respond swiftly and appropriately if the Asad regime repeats its appalling use of chemical weapons.
In January, we supported and lobbied for UNSCR 2393, which provides for humanitarian aid to be delivered cross-border into Syria. This has enabled our partners to provide approximately 572,000 people with access to clean drinking water, immunise 95,000 children under five, provide 500,000 medical consultations, provide safe spaces for over 29,000 women and girls, distribute over 23,000 food rations and support over 2,300 health facilities across Idlib governorate in 2018 so far. The UK also joined our close partners in mobilising the Security Council to demand a ceasefire across the whole of Syria and the immediate delivery of emergency aid to all those in need through UN Security Council Resolution 2401, which was unanimously adopted on 24 February.
The UK continues to play an active role in the International Syria Support Group, where we routinely push issues of protection and access. Together with other countries, the UK has strongly advocated to focus targeting aid on those most in need, which led to a review of the prioritisation of the UN response plan for Syria. As a result, the $1.8 billion plan is now more focused on immediate humanitarian needs and the most vulnerable, including within Idilib.