The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the members of the UN Security Council to reach a consensus on extending the UN mandate for cross-border aid operations in Syria. Speaking from Brussels via video link, Guterres warned that the failure to renew the mandate would result in devastating conditions for millions of people in the war-torn country.
The UN began its cross-border operations into Syria in 2014 via four border crossings. Last year, access was reduced into one crossing by the veto of Russia and China. The mandate for the last crossing, Bab al-Hawa, is set to expire on July 10. The UN has been sending more than 1,000 trucks carrying food, medicine and other items each month over the past year.
The Secretary-General has previously noted that the situation in the northwest is the direst in the country. Advocating that more humanitarian access is needed to reach those most in need, Guterres said they are in dialogue with Turkey and groups located in the area.
The acting head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Ramesh Rajasingham, stated that the cross-border mechanism is also “one of the most heavily scrutinized and monitored aid operations in the world”. He stressed Guterres’ call to extend the cross-border authorization for 12 more months.