United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called for an immediate and unconditional de-escalation of violence in Syria as civilians in the war-torn country suffer through one of the most violent periods in nearly seven years of conflict.
In a statement attributable to his spokesperson, Mr. Guterres stressed that "all concerned in Syria and the region have a responsibility and must abide by international law and relevant Security Council resolutions."
"He calls on all to work for an immediate and unconditional de-escalation of violence and exercise restraint," added the statement.
The UN chief also urged all parties to move swiftly toward a political solution, in line with Security Council Resolution 2254, noting that it is the only way to end the violence and the terrible suffering of the Syrian people.
Earlier today, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also underlined the need for urgent international action to protect civilians caught up in "wave after wave" of deadly airstrikes.
"The no-holds-barred nature of this assault is evidenced by reports that at least nine medical facilities, six of them in Idlib and three in eastern Ghouta, were hit by airstrikes," said High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein in a news release issued by his office (OHCHR).
Even by Syria's atrocious standards, these are exceptionally deplorable developments – and a cruel irony given that both have been declared 'de-escalation areas'
High Commissioner Zeid
According to OHCHR, between 4 and 9 February, at least 277 civilians are reported to have been killed, with 230 among them in airstrikes by the Syrian Government and its allies. A further 812 civilians are reported to have been injured.
In one of the worst incidents, a “rolling series of airstrikes” on residential areas of Duma (near the capital, Damascus) on 6 February reportedly killed at least 31 civilians, including 12 women and four children, and injured more than 100 others, including 37 children.