Guterres stresses ‘moral imperative’ to continue cross-border aid operation from Turkey — Global Issues

Overall, more than 14 million people in Syria need help in a dire situation in which infrastructure has collapsed and economic activity halved due to conflict, regional financial crises, sanctions and of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Resolution 2585, passed unanimously last July, called for the continued use of the Bab al-Hawa border crossing to the northwest, in addition to progress in cross-border aid deliveries into Syria.

Maintain consensus

The Secretary-General said that although the massive humanitarian response led by the United Nations and its partners averted the worst, more support is needed.

“I urge Council members to maintain the consensus on authorizing cross-border operations, by renewing resolution 2585 for another 12 months. He is a moral imperative to address the suffering and vulnerability of 4.1 million people in the region who are in need of assistance and protection,” he said.

The cross-border mechanism was first authorized in 2014, and since then more than 50,000 trucks have driven through war-torn Syria.

It is one of the most scrutinized and monitored aid operations in the world, Guterres told the council.

Ending the Humanitarian Tragedy

In addition to calling for the renewal of the resolution, the Secretary-General also urged the ambassadors to do everything in their power to encourage the warring parties in Syria to come to the negotiating table.

“The only way to end the humanitarian tragedy in Syria is to a real national ceasefire and a political solution which allows the Syrian people to determine their own future,” he said.

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths briefed ambassadors on some of the progress since July.

“At this time last year, there were no cross-border convoys in northwestern Syria. Since the adoption of resolution 2585, we have carried out five convoys, each comprising 14 trucks, from controlled areas by the government in Idleb, in the northwest,” he said.

“This has opened cross-access to northwest Syria for the first time in the last 12 months since 2017. It’s not nothing.”

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“We want to do more”

The trucks transported food for more than 43,000 people each time, as well as nutrition, hygiene, medical and educational supplies.

“But we want to do more, we need to do more, we expect to do more and we are working to expand access,” he continued. “But we need an enabling environment. We need timely approvals from all parties involved and security guarantees, especially for safe passage. And, of course, we need funding.

Mr. Griffiths stressed the imperative to continue providing assistance from Turkey for another 12 months. Last year, some 800 trucks brought aid to the northwest, reaching just under 2.4 million people.

He warned that without cross-border access, hunger will increase, medical cases will go untreated, COVID-19 vaccine distribution will be disrupted and the ability to protect millions of women and girls from gender-based violence will also be severely limited, among others. other consequences.

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