Irish aid agencies call on UN Security Council to keep vital crossing point between Syria and Turkey open – Syrian Arab Republic

Five Irish aid agencies (Trocaire, Oxfam Ireland, Concern, GOAL and World Vision Ireland) today called on the UN Security Council to vote to keep open a vital border crossing between Syria and Türkiye (Turkey ) to ensure life-saving aid reaches millions of people in need.

Agencies say the July 7 vote on the border crossing is essential for the lives and well-being of 4.1 million people trapped in northwest Syria, where humanitarian needs are highest since the beginning of the conflict 11 years ago.

Millions of Syrians depend entirely on humanitarian aid to survive, especially those who have been displaced by the conflict. 80% of people in need are women and children and more than 3.2 million people are food insecure and need food aid.

The UN Security Council, of which Ireland is currently a member, established a cross-border resolution in 2014 that allowed four crossing points for the delivery of humanitarian aid. Since 2020, this has been reduced to a single crossing point that allows humanitarian aid to reach Syrians in need.

Speaking on behalf of the five aid agencies, Mary Van Lieshout, GOAL’s Director of External Affairs, said: “The priority must be getting humanitarian aid to families in need in the most direct and most effective. Bab al-Hawa is now the only border crossing point for humanitarian operations to Idlib and Aleppo in northwestern Syria and it must be protected.

“If humanitarian organizations are unable to operate across borders when humanitarian needs are rapidly increasing, there will be a disastrous deterioration in living conditions.

“We urge the UN Security Council to renew resolution 2585 on cross-border aid to northwest Syria. Failure to renew the resolution will immediately disrupt life-saving aid operations, plunging the people of northwestern Syria into even greater misery, threatening access to food, medical care and shelter. It is a humanitarian and moral imperative,” continued Mary Van Lieshout.

Since the resolution came into force in 2014, millions of Syrians have benefited from UN-led cross-border assistance despite ongoing insecurity, conflict and access constraints. In 2021, the cross-border humanitarian response enabled aid agencies to reach over 2.4 million people per month in the northwest. This provided food for 1.8 million people, nutritional assistance for 85,000 people, education support for 78,000 children, access to life-saving dignity kits for 250,000 women and girls and essential medical items and supplies to help people survive the cold winter months.

Humanitarian needs in northwestern Syria

  • In northwestern Syria, 4.1 million people need humanitarian assistance, which is an increase from 3.4 million in 2021.
  • This population remains in areas that can only be reached with life-saving assistance provided across borders.
  • 2.8 million of the Syrian population residing in the northwest are internally displaced, and 1.7 million of them live in camps or informal settlements.
  • People living in camps often lack adequate shelter, infrastructure, protection and basic services, including water, sanitation and healthcare.
  • More than 70% of the population is food insecure in northwestern Syria (3.1 million out of 4.4 million people)
  • In the north-west of Syria, the populations are particularly affected by the crisis in Ukraine because they largely depend on humanitarian food aid and imports from Turkey. Turkey imports 78% of its wheat from Ukraine and Russia, so any potential price increases or shortages of wheat in Turkey will likely affect northwest Syria.
  • The price of essential foodstuffs in northwestern Syria has already increased by 22% and 67% (varies by region) since the start of the conflict in Ukraine.

Humanitarian needs across Syria

  • 14.6 million people need help to meet their basic survival needs.
  • More than 12 million people are still in a situation of acute food insecurity.
  • Up to 80% of internally displaced people are women and girls.
  • More than half of the people living in camps in Syria are under the age of 18.
  • The year 2021 has been marked by the worst drought in 70 years, affecting access to drinking water, power generation and irrigation water for millions of Syrians.
  • The water crisis has crippled the harvest in 2021, which risks worsening food security throughout 2022 and beyond.
  • Rising prices for basic necessities, including food, water and transport, mean Syrians are unable to afford the basics they need and there is little or no adequate public services to support them.

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