Despite over a year of "relative calm," the Syrian people are in the midst of soaring humanitarian suffering, the UN's special envoy for the country said Wednesday.
"It is a tragic irony that this time of relative calm, compared with earlier years of the conflict, is also a period of immense and growing humanitarian suffering of the Syrian people," Geir Pedersen told the UN Security Council via teleconference.
"It is a time of economic destitution, a pandemic, displacement, detention and abduction, all while violent conflict, terrorism and human rights abuses continue," he added.
Pedersen said that while battle lines have not shifted in some time, there are "recurring signs" that Syria's 10-year conflict could turn "hot," including "mutual shelling" and airstrikes in northwestern Syria, "more shelling in and around Afrin and Ayn Issa," and Israeli airstrikes in southwestern Syria and regime-held areas.
Troubling too is the country's dire economic situation, which despite a relative stabilization in the Syrian pound is still in the midst of soaring inflation, with the price of basic goods and transportation "increasingly outside of the grasp of many Syrians," Pedersen said, noting basic services like water and power are also "compromised in many areas."
"We see the same suffering and the same patterns of events and dynamics month-on-month, a pattern which I fear is slowly inching Syrians towards an even deeper abyss," he said.
The envoy continued to place emphasis on a UN-facilitated political solution to the conflict to remedy the country's woes.