Cross-border aid to Syria ‘vital’

UN officials stressed Wednesday that the humanitarian aid sent to Syria across the border is “vital” for millions of people, calling on the UN Security Council By extending the work for at least one year, according to the mechanism authorized by it.

The heads of several United Nations agencies concerned with humanitarian aid (OCHA), children (UNICEF), refugees (UNHCR), health (WHO) and food (FAO) said in a statement that “four million people are in northwest Syria, most of them are refugees.” Women and children depend on humanitarian aid to survive years of conflict, economic shocks, epidemics and growing poverty exacerbated by devastating earthquakes.

And they warned that “this essential crossing to provide them with vital aid from Turkey may be closed within days if the UN Security Council does not take decisive action.”

And ends on the tenth of this month, a mandate granted by the Security Council for a period of six months to work on the mechanism of bringing aid across the border into Syria without passing through the areas controlled by the Syrian government.

In 2014, the Security Council allowed aid to cross through four border points, but it soon reduced it successively, under pressure from Moscow and Beijing, to limit it to the Bab al-Hawa crossing located at the border between Syria and Turkey.

The Council is scheduled to take a decision on the future of this mechanism on Friday.

The heads of UN agencies said Wednesday that the council should extend the decision “for at least a year”.

And they stressed that “the lives of millions of people are threatened,” noting that The mechanism enables the provision of medicines and drinking water and food and accommodation for 2.7 million people per month.

The earthquake that struck Syria and neighboring Turkey in February exacerbated the suffering of the population, who were already living in difficult conditions and largely dependent on aid.

After the earthquake, Damascus allowed the opening of two crossings Two more borders with Turkey for a period of three months, which was extended in May for another three months.

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