I would now like to make a statement in my national capacity on the political situation in Syria.
Switzerland is very concerned about the risk of regional escalation resulting from the conflict in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 7 October. We support the efforts of Special Envoy Pedersen – whom I thank for his briefing – to immunize Syria as much as possible from such a scenario. The repeated attacks on Damascus and Aleppo airports over the past three weeks and the firing on the occupied Golan Heights are just one example of how the repercussions of the Middle East conflict are already being felt in Syria. We regret that the current situation is further hampering efforts to relaunch the political process and the work of the Constitutional Committee on the basis of Resolution 2254.
The security situation, particularly in the north of the country, has deteriorated significantly in recent weeks. In north-west Syria, the attack on a military academy in Homs on 5 October resulted in the deaths of dozens of people, including many civilians. The bombardments that followed in various parts of the Idlib region and to the west of Aleppo had serious repercussions on the civilian population and led to large-scale displacement. In the north-east, the upsurge in violence has also affected the population and many civilian infrastructures. Respect for international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians are a priority for Switzerland. This is why we are calling on all parties to establish a national ceasefire and to ensure the protection of civilians. It is essential that all parties respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law and the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in the conduct of hostilities. The protection of the civilian population and civilian property, including infrastructure indispensable to the survival of civilians, such as water supplies, is imperative.
In this period of high regional and international tension, it is vital to remain attentive to civil society, which is the only one capable of taking the pulse of the situation on the ground and capturing the aspirations, grievances and expectations of the population, particularly women. Switzerland therefore reiterates its support for civil society organisations active inside and outside Syria, which play a crucial role in easing the tensions and conflicts still at work in the country. We welcome the transmission role played by the Civil Society Support Room (CSSR) and the Women's Advisory Board under the aegis of the UN in Geneva. Platforms such as these enable the voices of Syrian women and men to be heard at international level and all the way up to this Council.
Finally, Switzerland recalls that the implementation of confidence-building measures, within the meaning of Resolution 2254 and by all parties, including the release of detainees and the clarification of the fate of missing persons, are essential to pave the way for reconciliation in the country.