UN Syria Cross-Border Aid Vote Averts Chaos, Shows Urgent Need for Alternative Strategies

Please see below statement from Refugees International Vice President for Programs and Policy Hardin Lang:

“Today, the United Nations Security Council voted to renew the resolution allowing UN agencies to deliver cross-border humanitarian aid from Türkiye into Northwest Syria. The move averts the chaos and humanitarian catastrophe that would result from the termination of the UN cross-border mechanism. However, Refugees International is deeply concerned by major flaws in today’s decision.

The resolution renews the mandate of the UN cross-border mechanism for only six months after Russia blocked an extension for the traditional twelve-months or even a compromise nine-months.  The reduced timeframe will make it much harder for aid agencies and donors to plan for and deliver humanitarian assistance for over 2.4 million people at a time when food insecurity has reached record high levels. Moreover, it is  outrageous that today’s resolution will expire in the middle of winter when the population of Northwest Syria is at its most vulnerable. 

 The new resolution is just the latest in a long line of actions by Russia to chip away at the lifeline of cross-border humanitarian assistance to areas not under the control of the Assad regime.  These include the previous closure of the Ya’roubiya border crossing for Northeast Syria and Bab al-Salam in the Northwest.

Today’s vote highlights the urgency of the crafting alternative strategies to meet the needs of the civilian population in Northwest Syria. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has ratcheted up tensions between Russia and the other members of the UN Security Council, complicating efforts to craft diplomatic solutions to some of the world’s most pressing crises. Northwest Syria is no exception. Planning must move forward to reduce the reliance on the UN cross-border mechanism over the next six months. There is no time to waste.”

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Refugees International’s VP for Strategic Outreach Sarah Sheffer at ssheffer@refugeesinternational.org.



Photo: A truck carrying aid packages from the World Food Program (WFP) drive through the town of Saraqib in the northwestern Idlib province on June 12, 2022. (Photo by OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP via Getty Images)