UN expert cancels visit to Syria due to lack of cooperation

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, revealed on July 11 that the Syrian Government’s lack of cooperation forced him to cancel a visit to Syria.

The visit was slated to begin on July 9.

“Despite my continued efforts, I regret that the authorities have failed to provide information and make steps necessary to allow the visit to take place,” Arrojo- Agudo said in a press release.

“This showed a lack of good will to facilitate this visit,” the UN expert added.

This would have been the first opportunity for an independent UN expert to examine the conditions of water and sanitation facilities in different areas in the country, and set challenges and positive practices on access to these rights.

“The preparations [for this visit] were made in full consideration of the sensitivities and realities on the ground, and in line with current practice for UN field missions in the country,” according to the expert.

Reportedly, access to safe drinking water and sanitation systems are severely limited in various locations in the country.

One of the most prominent regions that suffer from water crisis in Syria is Hasakah Governorate, northeast Syria, where since 2019, Turkey and their affiliated Syrian opposition factions, also known as Syrian National Army (SNA), have periodically cut off water coming from Alouk water station to Hasakah and its countryside.

On July 3, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) announced Hasakah a disaster area because of Turkey’s water cut-off.

Reporting by Emma Jamal