File photo. Photograph:( AFP )
This year marks 10 years since the Syria conflict began in 2011
Even as the situation remains precarious in Syria, the United Nations Security Council discussed the issue with India pointing to the "politicization and militarization of the conflict" bringing "disastrous consequences".
India's envoy to United Nations TS Tirumurti said, "India supports the UN continuing its humanitarian relief operations through all possible channels, with the cooperation of the Syrian Government" and highlighted that it "is important to delink humanitarian assistance from progress on the political track." Tirumurti explained, "We believe that the noble and necessary cause of humanitarian assistance should always be bereft of politics."
This year marks 10 years since the conflict began in 2011. India had provided $12 million in humanitarian assistance to the Syrian government. Last year to fight the COVID pandemic, India sent a gift of 10 metric tonnes of medicines to Damascus.
Calling on the international community to "provide assistance to Syria in rebuilding its infrastructure, safeguarding people's livelihoods and fighting COVID-19", Tirumurti said, "we should be sensitive to the debilitating impact that sanctions continue to have on the lives of the common people of Syria."
India has provided scholarships to 1000 Syrian students to study in India. In December 2019, it organized an artificial limb fitment camp in Damascus which benefited over 500 Syrians. The Indian envoy expressed concerns over "terrorism emanating from Syria" spreading "far, even reaching parts of Africa" with "foreign fighters involved in the Syrian conflict having moved to other places as mercenaries" and the "humanitarian situation has worsened, further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic."
During its previous term at the UNSC in 2011-12 under India's presidency, the top UN body adopted the first Presidential Statement on the crisis. Subsequently, the first resolution on Syria was adopted in March 2012, despite deep divisions among Council members, endorsing the six-point plan of the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Kofi Annan.