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Syria: UN Security Council must extend cross-border aid to avert 'humanitarian catastrophe'

With four million people in north-west Syria dependent on lifesaving supplies brought across Turkish border, vote being held in New York today

Russia and China have already forced UN to close three aid corridors into Syria

‘Blocking the renewal of the resolution would be a disgraceful act’ - Aya Majzoub 

Ahead of a vote at the United Nations Security Council today on whether to extend a cross-border mechanism that has allowed the UN to deliver lifesaving aid across the Turkish-Syrian border to some four million people in opposition-held north-west Syria, Aya Majzoub, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, said:

“If the UN Security Council fails to renew the resolution, millions of people will be cut off from essential aid, including food, water and sanitation, medicine, winter supplies and housing, inflicting grave harm on people who are already suffering enormously. 

“As the Syrian government continues to obstruct aid from reaching areas outside of its control, the survival of at least four million people in opposition-held north-west Syria depends on the delivery of aid across the border from Turkey through the UN cross-border mechanism. 

“Blocking the renewal of the resolution would be a disgraceful act. It is categorically clear that the scale and volume of aid needed to cover the needs of Syria’s internally-displaced population can only be met by renewing the UN’s cross-border mechanism.

“Not renewing the cross-border aid mechanism will result in nothing short of a humanitarian catastrophe.”

Established in 2014

The UN’s cross-border aid mechanism was established in 2014, allowing the UN and its partners to provide aid without the authorisation of the Syrian government. Since then, the UN and its partners, as well as other humanitarian organisations, have been providing food, water, hygiene, sanitation, health, education and protection for people living in north-west Syria, including internally-displaced people. Last July, Amnesty published a report which showed how millions of internally-displaced people were entirely dependent on humanitarian aid facilitated by the cross-border mechanism because of the Syrian government’s denial and obstruction of access to essential services. Russia and China have already forced the UN to close three aid corridors to Syria in the past three years, and this is now the only remaining aid delivery route. 

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