UNITED NATIONS — The Israel-Hamas war is spilling into Syria, fueled by growing instability, violence and a lack of progress toward a political solution to its 12-year conflict, the United Nations special envoy for the country said Monday.
Geir Pedersen told the Security Council that, on top of violence from the Syrian conflict, the Syrian people now face “a terrifying prospect of a potential wider escalation” following Hamas' Oct. 7 attacks on israel and the ongoing retaliatory military action.
“Spillover into Syria is not just a risk; it has already begun,” the U.N. envoy for Syria said.
Pedersen pointed to airstrikes attributed to israel hitting Syria's airports in Aleppo and Damascus several times, and retaliation by the United States against what it said were multiple attacks on its forces “by groups that it claims are backed by Iran, including on Syrian territory.”
With the region “at its most dangerous and tense,” he said, “fuel is being added to a tinderbox that was already beginning to ignite” in Syria, which was seeing a surge in violence even before Oct. 7.
Pedersen said the number of Syrians killed, injured and displaced is at its highest since 2020, citing a significant intensification of attacks in government-controlled areas, including an unclaimed attack on a graduation ceremony at a military academy in Homs, which the government attributes to terrorist organizations.