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UNICEF warns of ‘devastating impact’ of border closure on 1.7m Syria

July 2, 2021 at 12:19 pm

Syrian children are seen among the rubble of a collapsed school after it was hit by the Assad Regime in Idlib, Syria on 11 June 2021 [Izzeddin Kasim/Anadolu Agency]

UNICEF has warned of the “devastating impact” that a halt in cross-border humanitarian aid deliveries would have on more than 1.7 million Syrian children.

Calling on the UN Security Council to approve a resolution authorising the delivery of humanitarian aid across borders and not just across conflict lines within Syria for 12 months, UNICEF said: “Syria is no safe place for children. Without the cross-border assistance, children will be denied life-saving assistance, their protection and access to water, hygiene, medical support and education will be severely hampered.”

“Children in the northeast of Syria face an equally dire situation. Needs have grown by nearly one-third since the closing of a critical border point allowing aid to the area. The Security Council must urgently address ongoing challenges to the delivery of humanitarian assistance in the northeast.”

The UN Security Council ‘s member states will decide on whether to continue delivering aid via the Bab Al-Hawa crossing from Turkey to Idlib in northwest Syria and on the reopening of the crossing on the Iraq-Syria border on 10 July. The latter was closed in January 2020 at the insistence of Russia, an ally of the regime of Bashar Al-Assad. Russia seeks to promote the regime’s sovereignty over the entire country through the delivery of aid through Damascus. A Russian veto at the Security Council could block the issuance of the resolution.

UNICEF added in its statement: “We call on the United Nations Security Council to authorise and expand cross-border assistance for 12 months.”

“Now is not the time to scale back life-saving assistance to children in Syria. Humanitarian needs have skyrocketed since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Nearly every child in Syria now depends on assistance.”

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