Call for unhindered humanitarian access in Syria

(AP)Syrian refugees stand near their tent at Zaatari camp near the Syrian border, near Mafraq, Jordan

A coalition of 16 international humanitarian agencies welcome today's statement from the UN Security Council calling for unhindered humanitarian access in Syria.

The agencies, which include Christian Aid, CAFOD, World Vision and Tearfund, are demanding safe humanitarian access to civilians in Syria "immediately".

Millions of Syrians, half of which are children, are living in terrible conditions without access to sufficient levels of food, medical care and protection from violence.

In its statement, the UN Security Council said it was "appalled" by the level of violence in Syria, which has killed more than 100,000 people and driven 6.5 million more from their homes since March 2011.

It is calling upon all parties to help end the escalating violence and "respond swiftly" before more Syrians are affected.

"All member states should respond swiftly to the United Nations' humanitarian appeals to meet the spiralling needs of people inside Syria, in particular internally displaced persons, and Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, and to ensure that all pledges are honoured in full," the statement reads.

The Council goes on to emphasise that the Syrian authorities are primarily responsible for the protection of the population and must therefore ensure that humanitarian aid reaches civilians, in particular by granting visas for NGOs and UN staff and allowing cross-border access for convoys.

The alliance of 16 humanitarian organisations welcomed the statement but also urged the UN Security Council to make sure it is implemented.

They said: "We call on all parties to the conflict to act immediately on these requests. We call on the UN Security Council to show resolve by immediately translating its words into action.

"We further call on the Security Council to keep apprised of progress through reporting from the Secretary General on implementation of the statement within 30 days, and each 30 days thereafter, and be firm in ensuring fulfilment of its demands."

They added: "Concrete results must come quickly. Syria's civilian population has no more time to lose."