On Friday, the UN Security Council will vote on whether to renew authorizations for UN agencies to provide critical lifesaving aid to Northwest Syria. Six months ago, a series of deadly earthquakes devastated Syria and Türkiye, killing thousands of Syrians and injuring tens of thousands more. The devastation pushed millions already facing a protracted humanitarian crisis into catastrophe. In the months following, the UN cross-border mechanism enabled the delivery of more than 3,300 truckloads of aid to those in critical need.
Please see below statement from Refugees International Vice President for Policy and Programs Hardin Lang:
Refugees International calls on the UN Security Council to renew the UN authorization for cross-border humanitarian operations through three border crossings – Bab al-Hawa, Bab al-Salam, and Al-Ra’ee – for Northwest Syria for a minimum of 12 months. The current six-month mandate dangerously undercuts the timely provision of relief aid needed by millions of Syrians.
A longer authorization also gives aid agencies more time to stand up early recovery efforts and strengthen community resiliency. Therefore, we welcome calls by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for the UN Security Council to approve a 12-month resolution. We also urge donors to channel more funding directly to Syrian civil society groups on the front line of the relief effort.
Please see below statement from Refugees International Senior Advocate for the Middle East Jesse Marks:
The use of two new border crossings from Türkiye into Northwest Syria has improved the efficiency of the UN’s humanitarian response. However, this access currently rests on the consent of the Government of Syria and is therefore subject to the whims of the regime in Damascus. Instead, the additional border crossings must be enshrined in the UN cross-border resolution. This authorization offers stronger assurance of the continuity of cross-border aid and access into Northwest Syria following the earthquake than regime consent.
For now, renewing the cross-border resolution represents the most effective means for ensuring cross-border aid. In the event of non-renewal, humanitarian donors should push for the decoupling of the UN cross-border mechanism authorization from the UN Security Council, a position meticulously outlined by the UN Independent Commission on Syria, the American Relief Coalition for Syria, and international legal scholars.
For more details on what is needed for the earthquake response in Northwest Syria, see Refugees International’s recent report “Earthquake Aftermath: Aiding Northwest Syria Without Rehabilitating Assad”.
To schedule an interview, please contact Refugees International’s Vice President for Strategic Outreach Sarah Sheffer at email@example.com.