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UN agencies call for renewal of NW Syria cross-border aid operation

IDLIB, SYRIA - MARCH 28: Full moon rises over Maarrat Misrin camp in Idlib province, Syria on March 28, 2021. ( Muhammed Said - Anadolu Agency )
Full moon rises over Maarrat Misrin camp in Idlib province, Syria on March 28, 2021. [Muhammed Said - Anadolu Agency]

Millions of people in northwestern Syria are "pressed up" against the border and remain in dire need of humanitarian aid to survive, heads of seven UN agencies said in a joint statement, Anadolu Agency reported.

The officials, including the UN Refugee Agency head and his World Food Program counterpart, said the UN needs cross-border and cross-line access to reach those most in need.

"We call for the renewal of Security Council authorization for cross-border operations from Turkey to northwest Syria," said the statement issued on Friday.

"A failure to do so would immediately stop UN delivery of food, COVID-19 vaccines, critical medical supplies, shelter, protection, clean water and sanitation, and other life-saving assistance to 3.4 million people, including 1 million children," it added.

The officials said that the UN continued its engagement with all concerned parties to allow cross-line convoys into the northwest.

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"They are critical for the expansion of the overall response, but even if deployed regularly they could not replicate the size and scope of the cross-border operation. There is simply no alternative," they said.

The officials underlined that a large-scale UN cross-border response for an additional 12 months remains essential to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in northwest Syria.

Syria has been in a civil war since early 2011 when the regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Around half a million people have been killed, and more than 12 million had to flee their homes in the past decade.

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International OrganisationsMiddle EastNewsSyriaUN
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