The Syrian state has agreed to an extension of the authorization for delivering aid to areas beyond Damascus’ control through two Turkish border crossings, lasting for an additional three months.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) verified the Syrian state’s consent to prolong the aid delivery, stating, “The UN cross-border operation remains a vital support for people in northwest Syria. The United Nations and its partners offer essential assistance and protection services to an average of 2.5 million people every month,” as reported by Reuters.
Simultaneously, Syria’s mission to the United Nations in New York affirmed the extension of the UN’s utilization of the Bab al-Salam and al-Rai crossings.
Since 2014, the UN has utilized the Bab al-Hawa crossing from Turkey to distribute aid to millions in northwestern Syria under a mandate from the Security Council. However, this mandate expired in mid-July due to the 15-member council’s failure to reach an agreement for an extension. Shortly thereafter, Damascus declared that the United Nations could resume using the Bab al-Hawa crossing for an additional six months.
On July 13, 2023, Syria’s representative to the United Nations, Bassam Sabbagh, announced permission for humanitarian aid to enter the Bab al-Hawa border crossing for a period of 6 months.
The matter of opening humanitarian crossings is a contentious topic in the Syrian issue, with ongoing Security Council meetings addressing the continued opening of these crossings. While Western countries emphasize the need for ongoing access, Russia exercises its veto power to prevent the openings without Damascus’ consent.
Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia previously accused UN Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, David Cardin, of developing close cooperation with armed factions in Idleb. Nebenzia stated, “The Syrian armed groups in Idleb have developed a close cooperation, somewhat fruitful with Mr. David Cardin, the United Nations Deputy Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, who happens to be a British national.” He noted that his country rejected a decision to pass aid to northern Syrian regions through Turkish territory without passing through Damascus.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.