UNSC Syria Cross-Border Aid Vote a ‘Short Term Win,’ More Action Needed to Save Lives

Please see below statement from Refugees International Senior Advocate for the Middle East Jesse Marks:  

“Today’s UN Security Council vote to continue cross-border aid from Türkiye into Northwest Syria is an important short-term win, but once again underscores the fragility of the only remaining lifeline for more than 4.6 million people in Northwest Syria. The resolution’s renewal is vital to averting a worsening humanitarian crisis—especially as winter sets in and lifesaving support is needed most. But the decision has its shortcomings.  

The resolution only ensures critical aid is reaching Syrians in Northwest Syria for the next six months. The humanitarian community has called time and again for this window to be expanded to the minimum of 12 months so that humanitarian actors have sufficient time to plan for and effectively respond to the region’s expanding needs. Six months is simply not enough. The resolution also calls for increased cross-line aid from Damascus. All increases of aid are welcome, but cross-line aid has failed to reach the same level and scope as cross-border aid from the Bab al-Hawa crossing. Cross-line aid cannot and should not replace cross-border aid from Türkiye.

These shortcomings have emerged because Russia and China continue to hold resolution hostage to exact political gains. They do so at the expense of Syrians in need of lifesaving assistance. Russia and China have already blocked UN agencies from providing aid to 2 million people in Northeast Syria following the closure of the Al Ya’rubiya crossing in 2020. The politicization of cross-border aid must end.

The UN Security Council, international donors, and UN humanitarian agencies must ensure the continued provision of impartial, reliable, and predictable cross-border aid in the Northwest and Northeast Syria in partnership with Syrian civil society.

Refugees International joins the Syrian NGO Alliance (SNA), American Relief Coalition for Syria (ARCS), Syrian Networks League, and the White Helmets in calling on UNSC members to support the consideration of alternative legal bases for allowing UN agencies to continue life-saving cross-border aid, including all procurement, funding, and coordination activities in Northwest and Northeast Syria in line with humanitarian needs.”


For more information, see Refugees International’s August 2022 report “Transforming Syria’s Lifeline: A Plan for Sustaining Cross-Border Aid on Northwest Syria,” in partnership with the Syria Northwest Aid Continuation Task Force (SNACTF).

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

Cover Photo: Protests to allow humanitarian aid to enter in Syria on July 2, 2021 in Idlib, Syria. Photo by Rami Alsayed/NurPhoto via Getty Images.