UN chief appeal for extension of lifesaving cross-border aid operations into Syria

UN chief appeal for extension of lifesaving cross-border aid operations into Syria

Aid provided by the UN is delivered to Syria from Turkey across the Bab El Hawa border crossing in June 2020 (UN Photo)

New York (UNA-OIC) – Humanitarian convoys from Turkey that bring lifesaving aid into northwest Syria must continue, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the Security Council on Wednesday.

More than 1,000 trucks have been transporting food, medicine and other items through the Bab El Hawa border crossing each month over the past year, but a resolution authorizing these operations is set to expire on 10 July.

“I strongly appeal to the members of the Council to reach consensus on allowing cross border operations as a vital channel of support for another year,” Guterres said, speaking via video link from Brussels. “A failure to extend the Council’s authorization would have devastating consequences,” he warned.

The UN chief reported that for many Syrians, conditions are worse than at any time since fighting began, and the situation in the northwest is the direst in the country.  More than 70 percent of people require humanitarian assistance to survive, and nearly three million are displaced.

Guterres said more humanitarian access is required to reach those most in need.

“That is why I have been clearly expressing how important it is to maintain and expand access, including cross-border and cross-line operations,” he told the 15-member council.

“We are in dialogue with Turkey and groups in control of the area, and I have strong hopes that it will be possible to start cross-line operations soon. But we must recognize that they will never be able to replace cross-border assistance at the present levels.”

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