EU welcomes UN bid to extend cross-border aid to NW Syria

EU urges UN Security Council 'to uphold commitment to renew resolution' in December 'to ensure cross border assistance' in winter: Joint statement.

EU welcomes UN bid to extend cross-border aid to NW Syria

The UN Security Council's extending the authorization to use crossing point of Bab al-Hawa from Türkiye to Syria for humanitarian deliveries is "an important outcome," the EU officials said on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the UNSC agreed to extend its mandate for badly needed cross-border aid deliveries from Türkiye’s Cilvegozu border crossing to Bab al-Hawa in northwestern Syria for six months, until January 10, 2023, with a further extension of an additional six months requiring a separate resolution.

"This is an important outcome for the 4.1 million Syrian men, women and children, including 2.8 million internally displaced, in north-west Syria who depend on the vital humanitarian assistance delivered through this mechanism to help them survive.

"At the same time we urge the members of the UNSC to uphold their commitment to renew the resolution for 6 months in December to ensure cross border assistance is sustained in the midst of winter," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and Janez Lenarcic, the European commissioner for crisis management, said in a joint statement.

There is "no adequate alternative to cross-border assistance" to meet the humanitarian needs in Syria, EU officials said, adding that "the extension of the use of Bab al-Hawa crossing point is a humanitarian imperative to preserve the functioning of a critical humanitarian lifeline for millions of Syrians."

"The European Union will continue to advocate for all parties to depoliticise and allow unimpeded and continued delivery of humanitarian aid to all those in need," it added.

For the past two years, the Bab Al-Hawa crossing near Türkiye’s border has been the only point of entry for UN aid into Syria. The mechanism, which expired on Sunday, was extended earlier in the day.

Nearly 307,000 civilians have been killed in Syria between 2011 and 2021, according to a UN Human Rights Office report released in June.

Hüseyin Demir