Conflicts & War

UN aid no longer entering northern Syria, opposition calls for alternative

Cairo, Jul 11 (efe-epa).- United Nations aid is no longer being transported from Turkey into northwestern Syria after a resolution underpinning its provision expired due to a lack of agreement at the UN Security Council.

Millions of people who depend on humanitarian aid in Idlib province, the opposition’s last stronghold in Syria, have been in limbo since last night, when China and Russia, Syrian president Bashar Assad’s main allies, voted against extending the approval.

As discussions continue within the Security Council, authorities of Bab al-Hawa, one of the two border crossings in question, told Efe: “the last 45 trucks carrying humanitarian aid entered yesterday and as of today the entry of aid has been suspended.”

Last night, Russia – an actor in the conflict – and China confirmed their stance against allowing humanitarian aid into Syria through two crossings with Syria. The resolution was proposed by Belgium and Germany and is backed by most of members.

The countries advocating for extending the approval refused a Russian proposal to limit it to one border crossing as happened in January, when the Security Council excluded a crossing in northeastern Syria.

Mazen Alloush, head of the public relations at the Bab al Hawa crossing, told Efe on the phone that the disagreement prevents only prevents UN supplies.

 “It does not apply to those from other parties, such as the Turkish NGOs that send their trucks, although today only eleven Turkish NGOs trucks entered because on weekends we usually receive fewer trucks,” he said.

Between 1 January and 10 July 2020, 250,000 tons of humanitarian aid entered Idlib, of which the UN delivered 150,000 tons, 60 percent of which were food and the rest logistic and medical products as well as cloths, according to the Baba al-Hawa authorities.

Alloush considered the role of the UN as “essential” and “vital” as it cooperates with over 60 organizations in Idlib to deliver aid to small villages and refugee camps.

Humanitarian sources told Efe that over the past few days the aid delivery was intensified over fears of the resolution would not be extended. The stored aid should last for weeks.

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