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US envoy at UN to visit Turkey for Syria aid talks

June 1, 2022 at 11:14 am

US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield at the UN Headquarters in New York on 1 March 2021 [TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images]

The US envoy to the United Nations, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, will travel to Turkey “in the coming days” to meet with humanitarian partners and discuss cross-border humanitarian aid delivery to Syria. While in Turkey, said the US mission to the UN, the ambassador will be briefed on the “extensive support provided by the United Nations and its partner agencies to meet the dire humanitarian needs in Syria.”

Thomas-Greenfield will also meet with Syrian refugees in Turkey to hear about their experiences as well as with NGO partners and representatives of UN agencies “who are working to provide lifesaving food and other assistance to Syrians who otherwise would be without.”

Meetings with senior Turkish officials are also on the agenda for the US ambassador. They will discuss Turkey’s “crucial role in the facilitation of cross-border assistance and its protection of millions of Syrian refugees.”

Speaking to reporters in New York, Thomas-Greenfield said “We must renew and expand the mandate that allows vital food, clean water, vaccines and medicine to flow to millions of people in Syria before 10 July.” That’s when the cross-border mandate contained in UN Security Council Resolution 2585 is due to expire.

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The UN estimates that 14.6 million Syrians are now dependent on humanitarian aid, the highest number ever recorded. Twelve million people across Syria now face acute food insecurity, a massive 51 per cent increase since 2019.

The cross-border mechanism mainly serves about three million people living in the Idlib region of north-west Syria, which remains outside the control of the Assad regime in Damascus.