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Humanitarian groups warn of ‘catastrophic consequences’ of Turkiye-Syria border closure

January 3, 2023 at 12:34 pm

Turkish army guards Syrian border with domestic weapons [Mehmet Akif Parlak – Anadolu Agency]

Humanitarian organisations in northwest Syria have warned there will be “catastrophic consequences” if the Bab Al-Hawa crossing with Turkiye closes.

In July the United Nations Security Council renewed a resolution to allow humanitarian aid to flow through the checkpoint into Syria, but only for six months.

The crossing is the only route for aid to reach the 4.6 million people living in northwest Syria, 4.1 million of whom are in need of humanitarian assistance.

UN cross-border aid to Syria is authorised by the Security Council and delivers food, blankets, fuel, shelter, water, medication and vaccinations to northwest Syria.

The Syria Response Team has said that if the crossing closes, more than a million people across 725 camps will not have bread delivered daily.

The number of hospitals and medical facilities will be reduced first by 50 per cent and later by 80 per cent.

READ: Syria opposition to meet Turkiye officials amid accelerating rapprochement with Damascus

Already this year eight medical facilities have suffered from a reduced amount of medical aid.

Hospitals have stopped providing medical services to civilians suffering from heart, respiratory and orthopaedic health conditions.

Since September 2022 a cholera outbreak has spread in the northern part of Syria because of contaminated water cells.

Since 25 December, 17 people have died and almost 29,000 cases have been recorded.

In December humanitarian organisations called on the UN Security Council to renew the cross-border resolution and allow aid to flow through for at least 12 months.

With food prices increasing worldwide people in Syria are more desperate than ever.

Their situation is compounded by the fact that it is the peak of winter, and the region is expecting snowstorms, flooding and low temperatures.

Since 2014 the UN has sent over 55,000 trucks of humanitarian assistance to northwest Syria which women and children rely on.