July 12, 2022
Washington, D.C.- Today, the UN Security Council voted to reauthorize the Syria cross-border aid mechanism to northwest Syria through the Bab al-Hawa border-crossing for six months. While we welcome this re-authorization, the current arrangement of renegotiating vital aid every six months represents an impossible situation for aid providers and imperils the basic needs of over four million Syrians in northwest Syria, a population that has had disrupted access to food, medicine, and other basic services for over 11 years.
In the past 12 months, basic needs in northwest Syria have only intensified. The number of civilians in need of humanitarian assistance has swelled to 4.1 million, while the overall vaccination rate against COVID-19 has remained below 5%. As these numbers illustrate, aid to northwest Syria has not moved beyond emergency response, and what is needed is an expansion of access, rather than further limitations.
“We need to be looking at longer-term solutions,” said Dr. Amjad Rass, SAMS President. “Over the years, we have seen a consistent decrease in humanitarian access, both in terms of location and timeframe. Once again, we have seen the cross-border mechanism limited to a timeframe that does not allow for sustainable humanitarian services. If this pattern continues, we are worried that we may fully lose access six months from now.”
SAMS calls on the Security Council to continue efforts to reach all people in need in Syria, and for the United Nations to seek an outcome that does not put vital, life-saving aid in doubt every six months. The political processes that have interfered with the regular provision of the most basic necessities threaten to create a humanitarian catastrophe in northwest Syria if we do not find a more sustainable way forward.