U.N. says lessons from Syria plan can advance humanitarian issues

Amos says diplomatic ‘leverage’ has paved the way for Damascus to dismantle its chemical weapons, and it could also help Syrians

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“Positive lessons” learned from dismantling Syria’s chemical weapons could be applied to advance humanitarian issues in the war-torn country, the U.N.'s Humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said in a letter to the Security Council.

“One of the key messages is the need to learn the lessons from the Security Council’s handling of the chemical weapons issue and the success of that and understanding how these positive lessons could be applied to make progress on humanitarian issues,” Amos said in the letter.

The Syrian government's allowing of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a team of international investigators, to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal was a seen as a hugely positive step by the international community.

On Friday, the OPCW said it has approved a road map to destroy Syria's chemical weapons by the middle of next year.

Amos also presented suggestions on how to make an “immediate difference on the ground” in Syria by the use of diplomatic “leverage.”

She urged to use this “leverage with parties to the conflict to allow the evacuation of civilians from areas besieged by either the government or opposition forces.”

The Security Council could use these “leverages” to “facilitate humanitarian access to hard to reach areas under their control where 2.5 million people are trapped,” she added.

Russia, a key ally to Syria, has worked as a mediator to convince Damascus to accept dismantling its chemical weapons. Countries supporting the Syrian opposition have also used diplomacy to persuade the anti-President Bashar al-Assad’s groups to attend the proposed peace talks in Geneva.

Meanwhile, the aid chief supplied the Security Council with a map and a chart showing the besieged areas.

In rural Damascus alone, which includes eastern Ghouta, Douma, Erbin, Kafr, Batna, Zamalk districts, there are an estimated number of 227,500 people who are trapped.

In the capital’s al-Hajar al-Aswar area, there is an estimated number of 50,000 trapped people, and in Homs' old city, in the central province of Homs, there are 3,800 people.

The 32-conflict has killed more than 100,000 people, according to the United Nations.

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