Press Release

Statement by the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, Adam Abdelmoula, on the killing of a WHO team member in Deir-ez-Zor, 26 March 2024 [EN/AR]

26 March 2024

I am deeply saddened by the tragic death of Eng. Emad Shehab, a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) professional who served on the World Health Organization (WHO) team in Deir-ez-Zor City, Syria.

On Tuesday, 26 March, Eng. Shehab was killed in the early hours of the morning when his building in Deir-ez-Zor was among those hit by multiple air strikes across the Governorate. Several other civilians were reportedly also killed in the attacks.

Eng. Emad was a dedicated professional and an integral part of the WHO team since 2023 and has also previously served with multiple UN agencies and non-governmental organizations, overseeing various construction and rehabilitation projects, many of them related to water stations and sanitation facilities. I offer my sincere condolences to his wife and two young children, as well as to his extended family, friends and colleagues.

The Syria crisis has now entered its 14th year and Tuesday’s attack is a solemn reminder of the continued danger and devastation it presents for civilians in Syria every day. Syria has seen a sharp spike in violence in several parts of the country during the past few months, killing and injuring people, causing displacement and destruction of civilian facilities. This is further exacerbating the unprecedented humanitarian situation in the country, where 16.7 million people require humanitarian assistance.

I implore all parties to the conflict to take constant care to spare the civilian population and civilian objects in the conduct of hostilities and adopt all feasible precautions to avoid, and in any event to minimize, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects in accordance with international law. This includes verifying that targets are legitimate military objectives and paying particular attention to the timing and locations of the attacks. The fact that in a number of recent incidents the strikes hit objectives that appear as prima facie civilian and often located in residential and densely populated areas raise serious concerns that the obligations to take precautions in attack may not have been respected.

I thank all humanitarian partners who continue to work tirelessly, often in very dangerous circumstances, as they provide assistance to the people in Syria and alleviate the suffering of those who have endured relentless hardship for many years.

For further information:
Olga Cherevko, Spokesperson, OCHA Syria, Damascus,


Adam Abdelmoula

Adam Abdelmoula

Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator
Mr. Abdelmoula brings more than 35 years of experience in development, rule of law, human rights, humanitarian work and security, of which the last 24 have been with the UN.
Prior to his appointment as United Nations Resident Coordinator, he was serving as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, where he led the UN’s development and humanitarian activities amid the worst drought in generations, political instability, disease outbreaks and a looming famine.
Prior to this, Mr. Abdelmoula held different positions within the UN System, including as Director of the UN Human Rights Council and Treaty Mechanisms Division at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); Country Director for Iraq at the UN Development Programme (UNDP); Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative in Syria and Kuwait, Chief of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Section at OHCHR, Deputy Chief of the United Nations Mission in Liberia Human Rights Division, Chief Human Rights Officer of the United Nation Assistant Mission for Iraq and Senior Rule of Law and Human Rights Adviser for Somalia.
Before joining the UN, Mr. Abdelmoula worked for several international and regional organizations including Human Rights Watch, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, the Arab Lawyers Union and the Fund for Peace.
Mr. Abdelmoula has a doctorate in public international law from Georgetown University, a Master of Law from Harvard Law School and Bachelor of Law from Khartoum University.

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