January 9, 2023
Washington, D.C.- SAMS welcomes the decision taken by the UN Security Council today to reauthorize UNSC 2642, which allows for cross-border aid to reach northwest Syria through the Bab al-Hawa border-crossing. While this comes as good news for Syrians, the current arrangement of renegotiating vital aid every six months represents a challenging situation for the humanitarian community, and imperils the over 4 million Syrians in the country’s northwest, a population that has had disrupted access to food, medicine, and other basic needs for almost 12 years of war.
According to the UN, Syria now has 14.6 million civilians who “need urgent humanitarian assistance.” This is the highest this figure has been since the war began. And yet, aid-provision has not found a stable paradigm, and continues to be subject to the variability of the political environment, and the whims of powerful nations involved in the conflict.
“For many years now the humanitarian community has been exploring alternative aid provision modalities,” said Dr. Amjad Rass, SAMS President. “It is simply not acceptable to have aid work threatened every six months. This is why we’ve partnered with the American Relief Coalition for Syria (ARCS) and law firm Guernica 37 to provide a legal analysis for aid delivery with or without a UNSC resolution. When we started this process, we weren’t sure what we would find, but we are now confident that there is no legal necessity for a UNSC resolution, as impartial, humanitarian aid delivery should always be permissible.”
SAMS calls on the members of the Security Council to clarify their position on the legal necessity of the current process and clarify whether other approaches are legally permissible. SAMS believes that the humanitarian community at large and the nations of the world have a mutual interest in uninterrupted aid provision in Syria, and that it is past time for a new approach.