UNSC Vote on Syria Cross-Border Assistance Does Not Meet Acute Need

July 9, 2021

After today’s UN Security Council vote to renew the cross-border humanitarian operation into Syria through the Bab al-Hawa crossing point for six months, with another six-month renewal conditional on a Secretary-General review, MedGlobal reiterates the need for ongoing and unhindered humanitarian access for Syrians.

Dr. Zaher Sahloul, MedGlobal President, said:

“A catastrophe has been averted for now, but it is shameful that politics are overriding humanitarian principles in the UN Security Council. For nearly 4 million people in northwest Syria and 2 million people in northeast Syria, half of whom are displaced and living in makeshift shelters, the cross-border humanitarian operation is a lifeline that cannot be duplicated. Half of them are children. We want to thank the Security Council penholders Norway and Ireland, as well as the U.S., UK, and France for their leadership in advocating for unhindered cross-border access. However, the reauthorization of the UN Security Council resolution with assistance coming in through just the Bab Al-Hawa crossing, for only one or two six-month periods, is simply not enough. We know that it is the most vulnerable – children, those with acute injuries or need, COVID-19 patients, families who have been displaced 6 or 7 times – who will suffer the most. Politics are putting time limits on the lives of millions of people. We must start considering an alternative humanitarian plan now to avoid future UN Security Council politics.”

Dr. Hala Alghawi, MedGlobal Turkey Country Director, said:

“While this case is better than a non-renewal of the UN Security Council resolution, it is clear that the lives, health, and wellbeing of Syrians are being used as a political bargaining chip. The cross-border humanitarian deliveries are the only way to deliver essential health care support to children, mothers, and vulnerable families in northern Syria. Inside Syria, we see so many people who do not have their basic needs met. And little by little, their lifeline is being cut off and time-bound.”

Dr. Mustafa Al Edou, MedGlobal Syria Program Manager, said:

“We at MedGlobal are working in Syria every day to support medical oxygen for hospitals, ambulance systems, and health care for the most vulnerable populations. Here in northwest Syria, more than 80% of the population needs humanitarian or health assistance. The UN cross-border humanitarian operation is the only lifeline for that. Already, over the past year we have gone from three border crossings where assistance was coming into northern Syria, to just one, Bab Al-Hawa. Today, the UN Security Council could not even vote to renew this one border crossing, our only access to international assistance, for another full year. We feel increasingly abandoned.” 

For media requests, including with health workers in Syria, please contact Kat Fallon, Director of Policy & Communications, at [email protected].