Comprehensive UN Security Council action can rapidly alleviate the suffering of Syrians, the main Western-backed Syrian opposition group said Wednesday.
Certain actions by the UN's most powerful body "can immediately relieve the suffering of Syrians, prevent future atrocities, and lay the basis for a political transition to peace and democracy,” said Najib Ghadbian, UN representative of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces.
These actions include the referral of the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, or ICC, as well as enforcing previous resolutions and establishing a no-fly zone above parts of the country, he said in a letter sent to the Council.
"An ICC referral would not only put an end to impunity, it would deter further atrocities by establishing clear consequences for deadly actions and a vehicle for accountability," Ghadbian said.
The Syrian civil war, which entered a fifth year this month, has claimed more than 220,000 lives, according to the UN.
In February 2014, the Security Council adopted a resolution to increase humanitarian aid access, calling on the Syrian government to allow aid agencies to enter the country. This was followed by another resolution in July 2014, that authorized cross-border and cross-line access for the UN and its partners to deliver humanitarian aid without the government's consent.
Although the resolutions were legally binding, they did not present an immediate threat of punishment. Aid agencies recently said the Council had failed to implement its resolutions aimed at alleviating the suffering.
Despite the adoption of the resolutions, "640,200 Syrians remain trapped in besieged areas and millions more remain trapped across conflict lines," Ghadbian said.
He also renewed his request to the UN to establish a no-fly zone following an alleged March 17 chlorine bomb attack by the regime in an opposition-held town.
"A no-fly zone is not a panacea. But if successful, it would provide a way to begin to get a grip of the situation on the ground and create the conditions needed for responsible governance and the return of basic services," he said.
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