Press release on UN Security Council resolution extending use of border crossing for humanitarian aid into Syria
On July 9, 2021, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2585 extending the use of one particular border crossing for humanitarian aid into Syria. More specifically, the resolution stipulates the extension of the use of the Bab al-Hawa border crossing between Turkey and Idlib for the delivery of humanitarian aid for six months, with the expectation of a subsequent renewal for another six months, subject to the issuance of a substantive report by the Secretary-General on transparency in aid delivery operations and progress on cross-line access.
It is notable that the resolution includes several provisions of fundamental significance for addressing the urgent needs of the Syrian people and the complicated socio-economic situation in the country. In particular, it reaffirms the intention to encourage efforts to improve cross-line deliveries of humanitarian assistance from Damascus. This procedure for the delivery of humanitarian assistance is fully in keeping with international humanitarian law and the guiding principles of humanitarian assistance, respect for which is set out in the document.
The resolution welcomes the initiatives to broaden the humanitarian activities in Syria, including water, electricity, sanitation, health, education, and shelter early recovery projects, undertaken by humanitarian organisations, in particular the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and calls upon other international humanitarian agencies and the international community to support them. Grave concern is expressed in the document at the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has further worsened the dramatic situation of the Syrians and to which the UN member states should respond in the spirit of the UN Secretary-General’s appeal for alleviating unilateral sanctions.
And lastly, the UN Security Council has requested that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres report on the humanitarian deliveries inside Syria and on the assistance delivered through cross-border operations. For the first time ever, these reports must include details on the distribution mechanism in Idlib, which is controlled, as everyone is aware, by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group, regognised as a terrorist organisation by the UN Security Council, as well as on the work of partner NGOs in the de-escalation zone where the UN agencies so far have no access.
We hope that the faithful, full and depoliticised implementation of UNSC Resolution 2585 will help to seriously improve the humanitarian situation in Syria and to ease the suffering of the civilian population. The unanimous support for the draft resolution, which was prepared by representatives of Russia and the United States, is vivid proof of the international consensus regarding this matter. We believe that it is important to continue providing assistance to all people in Syria in the spirit of undivided respect for its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, as well as full compliance with international humanitarian law.