July 9, 2021
Washington, D.C.- Today, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to reauthorize the Syria cross-border aid mechanism to northwest Syria through the Bab al-Hawa crossing for 6 months, with an additional 6-month renewal on January 10 following the issuance of a report by the Secretary-General on the transparency of the operation. While the renewal of the resolution in any form was crucial to the continued support of over 4 million people in northwest Syria, one crossing alone is not enough.
81% of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance in a context where 10 years of conflict have resulted in severe protection concerns, mass displacement, and immense levels of need for necessities like food, shelter, and healthcare.
Over the course of the past year, northwest Syria has been subjected to a pandemic its health system could not adequately respond to and a steep economic decline, both of which exacerbated existing needs. With such massive levels of deprivation, northwest Syria needs greater access to life-saving humanitarian aid – this renewal does not provide that. Furthermore, even as access to northwest Syria continues, the UN and its NGO partners must continue to seek increased access to the northeast, where 69% of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance. Needs in northeast Syria have grown 38% since the Yarubiyah border crossing was closed in January 2020.
“The Council has once again failed to adequately meet the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people. Not only did the Council’s decision fail to reflect the growing humanitarian needs in the Northwest and Northeast, but it adopted a resolution that included language on issues outside of the scope of the cross-border resolution, such as early recovery, and made renewal contingent not on humanitarian needs, but on progress in cross-line assistance.”
– Dr. Amjad Rass, SAMS President
SAMS calls on the Security Council to continue efforts to reach all people in need in Syria, and for the United Nations and its partners to explore alternative mechanisms for delivering assistance beyond this resolution. Aid mechanisms must be based on humanitarian needs rather than the political goals of UN Member States. Council Members should also refocus their efforts on achieving a political solution, without which the humanitarian situation in Syria will only continue to worsen.