Remarks at a UN Security Council Open Arria-Formula Meeting on Syrian Voices on Preventing a Deathtrap in Idlib

Ambassador Jonathan Cohen
U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
September 7, 2018


Thank you to the hosts, and especially thank you to our Syrian guests today for your very compelling testimonies.

Very briefly – we said a few things in Council that I think bear repeating today for all of you. The United States would view any military escalation in Idlib as reckless and unacceptable. Any military escalation. Military hostilities must end in order to allow the United Nations-led process to have a chance to succeed. There is no alternative to the UN-led process in Geneva and a political transition as outlined in Security Council Resolution 2254.

Finally, the United States remains proud to support the courageous civilian volunteers of the White Helmets, who continue to risk their lives in Idlib to provide critical aid to their neighbors and fellow citizens in the face of horrific violence. The White Helmets are humanitarian heroes. The Assad regime, and the effort of some of its friends, to label them as terrorists, is not only wrong, it’s deeply regrettable. The White Helmets, along with all the other Syrian civilians in Idlib, as Hind Kabawat’s friend said, love life and must be protected.

Thank you.