"Today, the international maritime task force completed the critical mission of removing the last 8 percent of declared chemical weapons precursors from Syria. With this step, 100 percent of the declared chemicals are out of war-torn Syria. We congratulate the OPCW-UN Joint Mission and the entire international coalition, which operated under dangerous conditions to remove more than 1,000 tons of declared chemical weapons materials, a daunting undertaking that grew out of the agreement we reached last year between the United States and Russia."
We welcome the report of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria and thank the commission for its extremely important work over the past two and a half years, despite the Asad regime’s refusal to cooperate and grant access to the Commission.
As we gather today, three years after the start of the Syrian revolution, more than 100,000 people have died, 6.5 million internally displaced, and more than 2.5 million have fled to nearby countries as refugees. The COI has again reported additional and ongoing gross violations carried out by government forces and militias, including murder, hostage-taking, enforced disappearances, torture, rape, unlawful use of child soldiers, targeting civilians, and the indiscriminate use of barrel bombs. We appreciate the COI’s efforts to document the abuses and violations perpetrated by non-state armed groups, including by Jabhat Al-Nusra and ISIL, whose conduct we strongly condemn. Full Statement
"After three years of slaughter and savagery, people rightfully will question whether progress is possible, but this resolution holds the promise of something real. The proof is on paper. By naming the areas in Syria where sieges must be lifted, demanding that hospitals, schools and other places where civilians gather must be demilitarized, insisting that aid must be allowed to cross borders and follow the most direct routes to the suffering, and by underscoring that attacks against civilians, including barrel bombing, must end, the international community hasn’t minced words. This is a resolution of concrete steps to answer the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today."
"This could be a hinge-point in the tortured three years of a Syria crisis bereft of hope. This overdue resolution, if fully implemented, will ensure humanitarian aid reaches people in Syria whose very lives depend on it. This is all about saving innocent lives and relieving the burden on Syria’s neighboring countries."