Thirty-one Syrian and international humanitarian and relief NGOs sent an open letter to the United Nations (UN) Security Council, calling for the renewal of the Syria cross-border resolution that allows the entry of humanitarian aid into Syria.
The organisations stated: “The UN’s cross-border response, facilitated by this Council, is a humanitarian and economic lifeline for Syrian families struggling to survive after more than a decade of conflict and now a devastating earthquake.”
They added: “The magnitude of the multiple crises impacting northwest Syria demands the reauthorisation of cross-border assistance for a minimum of 12 months. If the Council fails to renew this mechanism, it will send a message to Syrians that the Council is willing to accept preventable additional suffering and loss of life on its watch.”
The organisations also warned: “Should the cross-border mechanism end in July, the subsequent disruption and reduction in aid flows will prove devastating for those already at breaking point. These context-specific, bilateral, and short-term agreements do not provide stable access for planning and long-term funding and operational decisions for humanitarian organisations, and do not lessen the necessity for the UNSC to reauthorise the cross-border mechanism and access through Bab al Hawa for at least another 12 months.”
“Bab Al-Hawa, where the UN transhipment hub is located, remains the most critical supply line for the response. More than just goods, the UN Security Council mechanism props up the entire humanitarian response in the northwest, ensuring Syrian and International NGOs have access to funding through the Syria Cross-Border Humanitarian Fund and guaranteeing secure and sustained access to communities,” the letter continued.
“The uncertainty about the renewal of the cross-border mechanism, coupled with the uncertainty about the bilateral agreements beyond 13 August, 2023, leaves families and NGO staff in a state of high anxiety, unable to plan more than a matter of weeks ahead. Living in a state of constant uncertainty, unsure whether life-saving aid will continue, exacerbates the psychological distress faced by millions of Syrians,” it noted.
The organisations ended the letter by calling on the members of the Security Council to: “Ensure Syrians are afforded more, not less, humanitarian access, and that you sustain that access for at least a year. Not only will this guarantee the stability needed for international donors to more generously support humanitarian assistance and early recovery for the northwest, but it will also signal to Syrians in this part of the country that they are not forgotten and that they have a right to live in dignity and with hope.”