Syrian Government Allows UN Access to Key Border Crossing but Seeks Control Over Aid Deliveries
The Bab al-Hawa crossing, a major passage from Turkey to Syria’s rebel-held northwest, has been approved for usage by the Syrian government. It has, however, stated that it wants to assume charge of relief deliveries to the area, which raises questions about the objectivity of humanitarian efforts. The announcement follows the UN Security Council’s failure earlier this week to extend permission for assistance delivery through the Bab al-Hawa crossing. This article explores the decision made by the Syrian government and its probable effects on humanitarian activities in the nation.
Government Grants Permission with Conditions
Bassam Sabbagh, Syria’s UN representative, announced that the government had given the UN and its agencies permission to utilise the Bab al-Hawa border for a period of six months, beginning right away. He underscored, however, that the operation must be carried out with the Syrian government’s complete cooperation and coordination. Furthermore, Sabbagh urged that the UN stop speaking with “terrorist organisations” who are illegally in charge of the Idlib province. He suggested that the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross handle relief efforts in certain regions.
Concerns over UN Control and Impartiality
Concerns are raised concerning the objectivity of humanitarian operations due to the Syrian government’s intent on assuming control over aid distribution. Previously, the UN monitored the Bab al-Hawa crossing to ensure accountability and openness in supplying supplies. However, Syria’s choice to open the bridge without UN oversight has come under fire. The control of this vital lifeline has now been given to President Bashar Assad, who many believe is to blame for the misery of the Syrian people, British Ambassador Barbara Woodward emphasised. The envoy demanded that relief delivery immediately resume and stated that he intended to bring the situation back before the Security Council for more discussion.
Humanitarian Consequences in Northwest Syria
With 4.1 million residents, including those displaced by the continuing civil war, in northwest Syria, the Bab al-Hawa border is crucial for delivering humanitarian aid there. The UN assistance delivery over the bridge, which has been permitted since 2014, being stopped might worsen the already dire situation in the region. Without a consistent supply of aid from Turkey, medical and aid organisations working in northwest Syria worry that the situation for the population’s most vulnerable members would get worse. The closing of the border may prevent hundreds of thousands of people residing in tent cities from receiving critical aid.
Security Council’s Failure to Renew Authorization
The humanitarian situation in Syria has become more challenging due to the UN Security Council’s recent failure to renew the license for assistance supplies through the Bab al-Hawa border. Despite receiving widespread support, a compromise resolution to extend the operation for nine months was vetoed by Russia, a major ally of the Syrian regime. An alternate resolution by Russia would have increased the restrictions and limited the aid deliveries to six months. However, this resolution did not receive enough support to pass, which jeopardised the relief operation.
Concerns regarding the objectivity of humanitarian operations in the northwest of Syria, controlled by rebels, are raised by the Syrian government’s decision to allow the UN to utilise the Bab al-Hawa border while attempting to control aid delivery. Millions of people in the region who depend on humanitarian aid may suffer severe consequences if the border is closed and the government’s demands are met. To secure the continuous flow of relief and lessen the suffering of the Syrian people, the international community, especially the UN Security Council, must act swiftly.