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Syria: UN Chief Welcomes Security Council Extension Of Vital Cross-border Aid Operation


The UN chief has
welcomed
a decision on Friday by the
Security
Council
to extend the UN cross-border
aid operation in northwest Syria for another 12 months,
providing a lifeline for more than 3.4 million people in
need, including some one million
children.

Secretary-General António Guterres
said via his Spokesperson, that the authorization to
continue using the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, due to
expire on Saturday, was essential, as it “remains a
lifeline for millions of people in the area, and
beyond.”

Needs increasing

“However, needs
continue to outstrip the response”, the statement
continued. “As the Secretary-General has highlighted to
the Council, with additional crossings and expanded funding,
the United Nations could do more to help the rising number
of people in need.”

The compromise resolution after
weeks of delay, emerged from discussions on Friday morning,
and was unanimously adopted. It calls for a
“substantive” UN report to be provided on aid access
across the Syria-Turkish border at Bab al-Hawa, after six
months, with a focus on “transparency in operations, and
progress on cross-line access in meeting humanitarian
needs”.

However, the operation will not depend on
reauthorization in January, and can extend through to July
next year.

‘Complex humanitarian
emergency’

The resolution calls on Member States
“to respond with practical steps to address the urgent
needs of the Syrian people, in light of the profound
socio-economic and humanitarian impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
on Syria, as a country in situation of complex humanitarian
emergency”.

The statement from the UN chief stated
that the UN would continue to engage with all parties to the
brutal ten year conflict, “to also facilitate crossline
convoys. They are critical for the expansion of the overall
response as humanitarian needs continue to
grow.

“The Secretary-General reiterates his call on
all parties to the conflict to ensure humanitarian access to
all people in need in accordance with international
humanitarian law.”

‘Heart-breaking’
suffering

In a statement released earlier in the day,
the UN Deputy Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the
Syria Crisis, Mark Cutts, said that people across Syria
“are worse off than at any time since the conflict began
10 years ago.

The suffering is heart breaking in the
northwest, where millions of people, most of them women and
children, have been trapped along the border with Turkey in
an active war zone.”

More than 1,000 trucks of
humanitarian supplies cross the border every month said Mr.
Cutts, and when one million people were displaced last year
in the northwest, humanitarian workers were able to provide
them with food, medicine, protection and shelter.

In
May, 26,000 people received their first COVID-19 vaccination
thanks to the border crossing, he added.

“We can
only hope that one day soon there will be a political
solution to the conflict in Syria”, said the aid
coordinator, “meanwhile, we can save lives through vital
cross-border access. By renewing authorization before it
runs out this 10 July, the Security
Council
will ensure that millions of civilians trapped
in a war zone continue to get the help they so desperately
need”, he
added.

© Scoop Media

 



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