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Concern Worldwide statement on failure of United Nations Security Council to keep open vital supply route to earthquake stricken north-west Syria

Press release12 July 2023
Chambers of United Nations Security Council during meeting
A wide view of the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East (Syria). The Council heard a report of the Secretary-General on the humanitarian needs in the Syrian Arab Republic. Photo: UN Photo/Manuel Elías

Concern Worldwide is greatly concerned that the United Nations Security Council has failed to reauthorise a border crossing which allows life-saving humanitarian aid between Türkiye and north-west Syria; an area devastated by earthquakes in February this year.

“Four million people in north-west Syria, the vast majority of them women and children, rely on humanitarian assistance. 2.7 million of those receive life-saving items such as medicines, food, safe water, and shelter from across the border,” said Fiona Gannon, regional director for the Middle East with Concern. 

Access through the border crossing, called Bab al-Hawa, was vital for the response in the immediate weeks after the earthquakes and continues to be essential to the rebuilding process.

“Humanitarians have to be able to access places where there are humanitarian needs. There was already a humanitarian crisis in north-west Syria before the earthquakes killed thousands of people, and destroyed buildings, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless. The earthquakes were the last thing that people living through over 12 years of conflict needed,” said Ms Gannon.

“Political manoeuvring has yet again taken precedence over the needs of human beings living through conflict. An agreement must be found by the Security Council to allow aid reach vulnerable Syrians. If not, a wholly preventable catastrophe is looming in north-west Syria.”

Access from Türkiye into northern Syria through Bab al-Hawa has been in place since 2014 but must be reapproved regularly, usually between six and 12 months, by the UN Security Council.  The crossing is essential to the humanitarian response in north-west Syria.

 “Concern, along with other humanitarian organisations working in the region, is urging the Security Council to meet again as soon as possible and authorise access to north-west Syria, through Bab al-Hawa for a minimum of 12 months.”

Since 2011, it’s estimated over 300,000 lives have been lost and over 16 million people have been displaced by war in Syria. Concern began responding in 2013 and our programmes are assisting those who have been affected by the conflict. Concern is also supporting Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Turkey.  

For further information, please contact Eilis Staunton, media relations officer with Concern Worldwide at or on +353 85 872 0720

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