Middle east

The Syrian Crisis: Damascus agrees to allow aid entry through Turkey

The Syrian government has granted the United Nations permission to deliver aid through Turkey for another 6 months.

This comes after the UN Security Council failed to renew the authorization for the aid delivery operation.

In a letter to the Security Council on Thursday, Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations, Bassam Sabbagh, stated that “the delivery of UN assistance must be carried out in full cooperation and coordination with the Syrian government.”

On Monday, the United Nations Security Council postponed approving the humanitarian operation from Turkey to assist several million people in northwest Syria, which is controlled by rebels. Council members faced difficulties in convincing Russia to extend the operation for more than six months.

Russia exercised its veto power against renewing the 9-month authorization in the Security Council on Tuesday, and its efforts to extend the operation, which has been providing aid including food, medicine, and shelter since 2014, for only six months, failed.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had been pushing for a 12-month renewal of the operation.

UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric confirmed receiving the Syrian letter and stated that the United Nations is studying it.

Barbara Woodward, the UK’s ambassador to the United Nations, said in a statement that “under the UN authorization, the Bab al-Hawa crossing was subject to the highest monitoring standards for aid to ensure its non-misuse.”

She added that “the priority was to swiftly resume the flow of assistance to those in need and then ensure the future of the operation,” and also said, “We will not hesitate to bring this back to the Security Council.”

The Security Council’s authorization was required because the Syrian government did not agree to the United Nations operation.

Dmitry Polyanskiy, the Russian deputy ambassador to the United Nations, stated that there is no need for the Council to vote on any authorization for aid delivery through the borders, as this route is “officially dead.”

He wrote on Twitter, “Any attempt to put another draft to the vote is just political games.”

Sabbagh stated that the Syrian government made the sovereign decision to grant the United Nations and its specialized agencies permission to use the Bab al-Hawa crossing.

He indicated that humanitarian aid would be allowed to reach needy civilians in northwest Syria in full cooperation and coordination with the Syrian government for six months, starting on July 13th.

Following an earthquake that killed over 50,000 people in Turkey and Syria in February, al-Assad allowed the United Nations to use two additional border crossings from Turkey to send aid. The deadline for this approval is August 13th.

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