United Nations agency chiefs have urged the UN Security Council to renew a resolution guaranteeing cross-border aid access to north-west Syria, warning that without it, millions of people, especially those displaced for years and multiple times, will not have access to food and shelter. The appeal came in a written statement Monday signed by the heads of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, International Organization for Migration, UN Children's Fund, World Food Programme, World Health Organization, UN Refugee Agency, and UN Population Fund.
UN Security Council resolution 2642, which allows for aid to be delivered to north-west Syria from across the Turkish border, is set to expire next week. In 2022, UN agencies and humanitarian partner organizations delivered aid from across the Turkish border reaching an average of 2.7 million people every month.
“If the Council fails to extend it, the consequences will be catastrophic for 4.1 million people in non-Government-controlled areas. Most of them are women and children who need assistance just to survive at the peak of winter and amidst a serious cholera outbreak”, the statement said.
Unlike earlier resolutions which extended the cross-border operations for 12 months, the last action taken by the Security Council only granted a six-month authorization. According to the humanitarian leaders, the six-month extension led to additional logistical and operational challenges, increased operational costs, and curbed the capacity of humanitarian partners to help those in need.
“The millions of people who depend on the cross-border lifeline for survival need this resolution to be renewed without delay”, the statement said.
The Security Council has until January 10 to confirm renewal of the mechanism.
The appeal was signed by Mr. Martin Griffiths, Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Mr. António Vitorino, Director General, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Mr. Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ms. Catherine Russell, Executive Director, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Mr. David Beasley, Executive Director, World Food Programme (WFP), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO), and Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The Syrian conflict is one of the largest and most complex humanitarian crises worldwide. The crisis continues to cause tremendous human suffering to people both inside and outside the country. People in Syria have been subject to massive and systematic violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The UN estimates that in 2023 approximately 15.3 million people will need life-saving and life-sustaining humanitarian assistance and protection.
More than eleven years of conflict in Syria have led to one of the two largest displacement crises in the world - the other being the military invasion of Ukraine - with more than 12.6 million people fleeing their homes. While 6.9 million women, men and children are internally displaced in their own country, the civil war has resulted in more than 5.7 million Syrian refugees, located mostly in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.
Full text: UN humanitarian leaders urge Security Council to preserve cross-border aid lifeline to north-west Syria, statement by UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, International Organization for Migration, UN Children's Fund, World Food Programme, World Health Organization, UN Refugee Agency, and UN Population Fund, published January 2, 2023