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 into north-west Syria, Aya Majzoub, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:
“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 Türkiye through the UN cross-border mechanism. Russia and China have already forced the UN to close three aid corridors to Syria in the past three years, and this is the only one that remains. 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.
“Over half of north-west Syria’s internally displaced population live in small, one-person tents with no insulation against the frigid winter weather as temperatures dip below freezing. They not only struggle to stay warm, but also to keep their tents and belongings dry and to access latrines amid severe flooding. Not renewing the cross-border aid mechanism will result in nothing short of a humanitarian catastrophe.
“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.”
The UN’s cross-border aid mechanism was established in 2014, allowing the UN and its partners to provide aid without the authorization of the Syrian government.
Since then, the UN and its partners, as well as other humanitarian organizations, have been providing food, water, hygiene, sanitation, health, education and protection for people living in north-west Syria, including internally displaced people (IDPs).
In July 2022, Amnesty International published a report which details how millions of IDPs depend entirely on humanitarian aid facilitated by the UN cross-border mechanism due to the Syrian government’s denial and obstruction of access to essential services.