Statement by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven on the conflict in Syria

The Syrian nightmare has been going on for more than seven years. An offensive against Idlib is likely to spark another humanitarian disaster. Three million people, including one million children, are trapped in Idlib.

Despite this, the Syrian regime and its allies are preparing a large-scale military offensive. Sweden continues to call on the Astana guarantors – Russia, Iran and Turkey – to do everything possible to prevent this offensive. I fully support UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who, in the strongest terms, has warned of a bloodbath and stressed that it is imperative to protect civilians. Sweden is making a major contribution to humanitarian efforts. The UN recalls the need for global preparedness to deal with the severe humanitarian consequences of an offensive.

I have spoken to UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura about the situation in Syria and specifically in Idlib. Sweden supports Staffan de Mistura’s work and the international efforts to urge those responsible to prevent an offensive, protect civilians and de-escalate the violence. I have also spoken to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, who underscored the importance of creating scope for further negotiations.

As a member of the UN Security Council, Sweden is pushing for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Syria and for the protection of civilians. But ultimately, the responsibility lies with the Syrian regime and its allies, not least Russia and Iran.