For Immediate Release
July 1, 2020
Washington, D.C. SAMS has joined thirteen Syrian and international NGOs in releasing a paper calling for the renewal of UNSC Resolution 2504, which facilitates the delivery of cross-border humanitarian aid into Syria. Cross-border has served as a vital pipeline for humanitarian actors to deliver aid to the most vulnerable in northwest Syria, where the vast majority live in informal settlements lacking even the most basic necessities. Northwest Syria currently has a population of over 4 million people, more than 2.8 million of whom are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. Cross-border aid is the only lifeline for this struggling part of the country, making the renewal of Resolution 2504 critically important.
Assistance provided to northwest Syria through the cross-border response has supported people in more than 865 communities across 72 subdistricts and includes food security and livelihoods, shelter, non-food items, health, education, and protection assistance.
As a health organization, SAMS is especially concerned about the negative and direct impact that non-renewal of the resolution would have on the provision of health services in the area. In 2019, WHO requested $39 million in assistance for northwest Syria, while UNICEF led vaccination campaigns. Furthermore, pooled funding available through the UN cross-border mechanism allocated a total of $117 million in 2019, assisting 2.7 million people in need of health services. The possibility of non-renewal threatens the continuation of this assistance, as well as that of the 38 NGOs that implemented cross-border projects in NW Syria in 2019.
The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated humanitarian conditions in northwest Syria, making continued support for cross-border aid to NW Syria more important than ever. While NW Syria has not yet confirmed any cases of COVID-19, the area remains woefully underprepared for a potential outbreak and at particular risk due to more than 250 cases being confirmed in nearby parts of the country. Losing cross-border assistance in NW Syria would effectively cripple preparedness and mitigation measures in an already-fragile health system.
SAMS urges the Security Council to renew resolution 2504, authorizing cross-border assistance through Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salam crossings for a minimum of twelve months, to ensure that the millions of residents of NW Syria continue to receive the life-saving aid they need. The Council must also urgently address the dire humanitarian situation in the northeast and southwest of the country, and adopt measures to ensure that there is sustained, unimpeded humanitarian access to these areas.
For media inquiries, contact SAMS Senior Media & Communications Manager Lobna Hassairi at [email protected]