Relief after UN Security Council votes to keep vital humanitarian route into Syria open

Continuing COVID -19 awareness raising campaign in a camp in northern Syria
Continuing COVID -19 awareness raising campaign in a camp in northern Syria
  • Concern expresses disappointment that other routes essential for aid delivery remain closed

Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide welcomes the news that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) voted yesterday (July 11) to continue allowing humanitarian aid into Syria for the next 12 months through a single border crossing point from Turkey.

First COVID-19 case

In January 2020, the UNSC agreed to exclude the delivery of aid from Iraq and Jordan into Syria, as part of Resolution 2504. This left only the two border crossings to be used for delivery of aid from Turkey into Syria. Yesterday’s decision will ensure humanitarians have access to the region for at least 12 months. It comes as the first COVID-19 case is confirmed in Idlib, a Syrian area close to the Turkish border.

“This decision means that life-saving food, shelter, hygiene and medical services that aid workers can bring into Syria can continue, helping millions of people in dire need. The aid is especially needed now, as the Syrian pound crashes, the impact of conflict continues and fears of COVID-19 spreading grow,” according to Concern’s Regional Director of the Middle East, Bríd Kennedy.

However, Concern is very disappointed that some Security Council members succeeded in removing the second border crossing, crossing point into Syria, which served one million people with health supplies in May alone - not to mention the failure to re-authorize the Yaroubiya crossing into the Northeast.

Concern distributing hygiene kits in Northern Syria
As part of the response to Covid-19, Concern Syria have begun distributing hygiene kits in Northern Syria Photo: Concern Worldwide

"In northern Syria humanitarian actors continue to struggle to fill the gaps left by the Security Council’s decision to remove UN cross-border assistance from Iraq in January,” Ms Kennedy said. Although the ceasefire on March 6, 2020, brought a much-needed decrease in hostilities, millions of Syrians still depend on UN assistance for the most basic services such as food, shelter, water and medical care.”

The plight of the Syrian population remains urgent and ever more critical, according to Concern Worldwide CEO Dominic MacSorley. “While we welcome the vote to allow aid be delivered through only  one border crossing into Syria, the Council should urgently revisit the decision made yesterday to open up access  even further by  authorizing  two more access points, an additional route from Turkey and one from Iraq to avoid the loss of more lives and livelihoods,” he said.  

“Beyond the need for robust immediate humanitarian assistance, the Syrian people deserve real leadership in the search for conflict resolution. People whose lives have been upended for over nine years now must be supported in regaining their right to a peaceful way of life,” Mr MacSorley said.

“There is perhaps no more challenging active conflict than the Syrian war and there are no easy solutions but we must harness every opportunity to end the nightmare for those caught up in conflict.”  

Emergency assistance

Since 2011, an estimated half a million 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.

Concern provides emergency assistance to the most vulnerable internally displaced people, host community members and returnee families in conflict areas of Syria. The aid agency provides emergency ready-to-eat rations in the most desperate situations, followed by either food baskets or food vouchers to families fleeing conflict. There has also been a rapid scaling up of access to water and hygiene promotion arising from the global COVID–19 pandemic.

For media queries and interview requests contact Eamon Timmins, Media Relations Manager, Concern Worldwide, at eamon.timmins@concern.net or 087 9880524

 

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