In a letter to the Security Council last week, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon expressed concern over the situation in Syria, saying that an increase in fighting could endanger the current mission to destroy chemical weapons in the country as well as the lives of the 63-person team working to fulfill the plan.
According to The Washington Post, the riskiest part of the effort—transporting chemicals to the port of Latakia to get them out of the country—is about to begin, and involves crossing through active war zones. While previous phases had proceeded relatively smoothly, countries asked to host the destruction of the weapons, such as Norway, have refused and they will now be destroyed at sea by the U.S.
Meanwhile, the quality of living conditions has hit a serious downward trajectory. According to Valerie Amos, the UN's chief humanitarian relief coordinator, there is still much progress to be made:
In the two months since the Security Council unanimously approved a presidential statement urging all sides to allow emergency humanitarian access, she said, some other advances had been made, including the appointment of interlocutors to help relief teams distribute aid. But on the protection of civilians, demilitarization of schools and hospitals and access to hardest-to-reach areas, Ms. Amos said, “we have not seen any progress on those.”
Officials estimate that nearly 7 million Syrians inside the country are in dire need of food and medical attention, while the number of refugees abroad is expected to reach 3 million by the end of the year.