(Belga) Cross-border humanitarian aid to Syria, without authorization from Damascus, remains “essential” to help its population, the UN said on Monday when this measure was de facto extended by six months without a new vote from the Council of security.
This body renewed in July the cross-border authorization “for a period of six months, until January 10, 2022”, via the Bab al-Hawa crossing point, on the Syrian border with Turkey. The text provided for “an extension of six additional months, until July 10”, subject to a report by the UN Secretary General. For the West, the extension until July 2022 had been interpreted as automatic when Russia had raised the possibility of requesting a new vote from the Security Council, which it has refrained from asking until today. ‘hui. In his report submitted in December, the head of the UN, Antonio Guterres, underlined the impossibility of replacing at this stage the cross-border mechanism by a mechanism across the front lines from Damascus, which Moscow wishes to promote to make recognize the full sovereignty of Syria over its territory. The cross-border mechanism primarily serves the roughly 3 million people living in the Idlib region in northwestern Syria, which is still out of Damascus’s control. “The cross-border delivery of aid is essential,” UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said on Monday during his daily press briefing. “We need aid to be channeled through borders and front lines. These are essential elements for us to be able to meet the humanitarian needs of all Syrians,” he said. Asked about the lack of a new Security Council vote, he replied that he welcomed “any decision” allowing the UN “to continue this vital cross-border aid”. (Belga)