UN Security Council meets for humanitarian aid to Syria

The UN Security Council meets behind closed doors on Monday to discuss ways to increase humanitarian assistance to Syria after the earthquake, amid growing calls for new border crossings to open to deliver aid in the northwest. from the country.

During this private meeting requested by Switzerland and Brazil, responsible for the case, the humanitarian head of the UN agency, Martin Griffiths, who was in Turkey and Syria this weekend, will give an assessment of the situation to the members of the Council.

But, prior to this meeting, their message was clear.

“So far, we have failed the people of northwest Syria. No wonder they feel left behind,” Griffiths said on Twitter on Sunday. “Our obligation is to fix this flaw as soon as possible,” she added.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Syria and Turkey on Feb. 5 left at least 35,000 dead and communities in both countries are desperate for emergency aid.

Prior to the earthquake, nearly all of the critical humanitarian aid for the more than four million people living in the rebel-held areas of northwest Syria was delivered from Turkey through the Bab al-Hawa crossing.

This is thanks to a cross-border mechanism created in 2014 by a UN resolution, contested by Damascus but also by Moscow, a permanent member of the Security Council with veto power, which has sought in recent years to reduce the number of border crossings from four to one.

The delivery of aid through Bab al-Hawa was interrupted by the earthquake, but has since resumed and requests for the opening of new crossings are multiplying.

“The populations of the affected areas are counting on us (…) We must immediately vote on a resolution to respond to the UN appeal to authorize the opening of new border crossing points for the delivery of humanitarian aid”, said the US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, in a statement on Sunday, referring to two additional crossing points.

“We haven’t started discussing a resolution, but I’m sure we will,” said Maltese Ambassador Vanessa Frazier, who chairs the Council in February.

“We’re doing our job,” she added, when asked about criticism of the council for the slowness of the process.

“It doesn’t make sense for us to meet without information” coming from experts on the ground, Frazier added, echoing the argument made by Switzerland and Brazil, which last week indicated they wanted to hear from Griffiths before debating the issue.


© Agence France-Presse

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