(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The Heads of five UN Aid Agencies on Wednesday urged the international community to find the courage and will the Syrian people have to cope with and survive over three years of "tragic war." "Thus far, diplomatic efforts designed to end years of suffering have failed. What have not failed are the courage and determination of extraordinary Syrian civilians to survive. Can those with the responsibility and the power and the influence to stop this terrible, tragic war find the same courage? The same will?," they wondered in a joint statement.
"For if the civilians of Syria have not given up, how can the world give up on its efforts to save them - and save Syria?... "The innocent civilians of Syria seem to be surviving on sheer courage," they insisted.
The statement was signed by Valerie Amos, Head of the UN Humanitarian Affairs; Anthony Lake, Head of UNICEF; Antonio Guterres, the High Commissioner for Refugees; Ertharin Cousin, Head of the World Food Programme; and Margaret Chan, Head of the World Health Organisation.
They said the lives of more than 9.3 million people across Syria are now affected, including some 3.5 million living in hard to reach areas, with a third of the country's water treatment plants no longer functioning and 60 percent of health centres destroyed.
They called on "all parties to this brutal conflict" to enable unconditional humanitarian access to all people in need, using all available routes either across lines inside Syria or across its borders; lift the siege on civilians currently imposed by all sides, such as in Aleppo and the Old City of Homs; and end the indiscriminate bombing and shelling of civilians by Government and opposition groups.
They said "we are doing all we can to save lives and alleviate suffering - even in the face of great danger to, and sacrifice by, our colleagues on the ground. But we know that what we can do is not sufficient. Not nearly so." But, they argued, "if we are to do more, to reach and help more people, those engaged in this horrific conflict, and those with influence over them, must do more." They expressed regret that the appeal they launched a year ago when they said "enough is enough" went "largely unanswered," and warned that "the worst days seem yet to come."