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Report accuses U.N. of taking Syrian dictator’s side

 

A 54-page report entitled “Taking Sides,’’ compiled by the Syria Campaign, an advocacy group opposed to the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, denounces the United Nations for allegedly taking the side of the Assad regime in the Syrian Civil War. It is signed by more than 50 Syrian civil-society organizations and uses interviews with current and former U.N. officials as well as Syrians in besieged areas and humanitarian workers.

The report says that the U.N. abandoned its neutrality by yielding to the demands of Assad’s regime, including letting it veto aid deliveries to rebel-held areas besieged by Assad’s forces.

The report accuses the UN of prioritizing its cooperation with the Syrian government “at all costs,” allowing the diversion of billions of dollars of international aid to one side of the conflict and thus killing civilians in besieged areas that have been denied access to food and medicine.

The report urges U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to set “red lines’’ for its humanitarian operations in Syria or withdraw its cooperation with the Assad government. The report’s writers assert that the organization’s failures have tarnished its legacy and let the regime use starvation as a weapon.

“There has been a systematic failure in the U.N.-led response,” said Roger Hearn, the former head of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency office in Damascus, who ran the organization during the first year of the conflict, which started in 2011.

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