The escalation of violence in the Northwest of Syria by the Syrian regime and its allies must cease. The latest offensive includes indiscriminate airstrikes on and shelling of civilians and escape routes. It has already led to countless civilian deaths, injuries and the displacement of 80 000 people. This brings to close to 800 000 the number of people displaced since February of this year.
All parties have the obligation to protect civilians. The regime and its allies must cease indiscriminate military attacks and respect international humanitarian law.
Guaranteeing rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access including the cross-border modality is an utmost necessity. Three million civilians live in Idlib. They must be protected.
The presence of UN-listed terrorist groups in Idlib is an issue of concern for all. Fighting these groups, as authorised by the UN, does not permit the undermining of international humanitarian law or the targeting of civilians.
Working towards a political settlement between the regime and the opposition in accordance with UNSCR 2254 will remain the priority for the European Union. Continuing hostilities in Idlib risks destroying faith in such a negotiated solution and the work of the Constitutional Committee that has just begun.