UN Chief Says Cross-Border Aid Is Essential to Millions of Syrians in Idlib

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said that cross-border assistance is crucial for life-saving for millions of people in need in north-west Syria.

“Cross-border assistance remains lifesaving for millions of people in need in north-west Syria,” Guterres said in a confidential document obtained by AFP, adding that over four million people were in need of crucial assistance across the country.

This is as the authorization for the Bab Al-Hawa border crossing from Turkey into the north-west Syrian province of Idlib is set to expire on 10 January, less than a month away.

The crossing is the last one to remain open for humanitarian aid to enter, following the closure of the other crossings in 2020.

The Bab Al-Hawa crossing was at risk of closing down back in July, but was then allowed to remain operational for a six-month extension after Russia came to an agreement with the United States and other Western nations at the UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting.

Guterres referred to another project for humanitarian operations, this time across the front lines to reach Idlib, but insisted upon the importance of the Bab al-Hawa crossing.

“At this point such cross-line convoys, even if deployed regularly, could not replicate the size and scope of the cross-border operation,” Guterres said.

Guterres said some 4.5 million people in Syria need help this winter, up 12 percent from the previous year. 

These Syrians are displaced due to ongoing decade-long civil war, and they stationed in camps in Idlib where they suffer from poor conditions and a lack of essential resources, he added.


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