Aid to Civilians in North Syria Must Continue, Despite Russian and Chinese Veto
Syrian American organizations call for cross-border aid to continue, going directly to humanitarian and civil society groups on the ground
WASHINGTON D.C., July 11, 2020 – Syrian American organizations express their concern at the July 7, 2020, United Nations Security Council (UNSC) vote on a draft resolution to reauthorize the cross-border humanitarian aid delivery mechanism in northern Syria that expired on July 10. The decision by Russia and China to exercise their veto to reject the proposal to reauthorize the Bab al-Salam and Bab-al Hawa crossings for 12 months will leave civilians without lifesaving support.
As members of the United Nations Security Council, Russian and China have proven incapable of putting politics aside for the best interests of humanitarian principles. The international community should develop a system of cross-border humanitarian aid delivery to populations in northern Syria without the consent of Assad and its backer, Russia. International donors should direct funds for humanitarian assistance directly to Syrian humanitarian and civil society groups on the ground that are actively working to coordinate and provide basic services to people who have faced more than nine years of war.
The decision by Russia to instead put forth on July 8, 2020, a UNSC resolution that would only allow delivery of aid through one crossing point from Turkey for six months is a blatant affront to the millions of people who rely on support because they were starved and bombed from their homes by the Assad regime and Russia. Member states of the United Nations must not let their money be used as a weapon of war against Syrian civilians.
This week, the first case of COVID-19 was announced in the northwest of the country. Without open border crossings, it will be impossible to deliver Syrians lifesaving medical care. Syrian American organizations will continue to ensure that the protection of civilians and the fair distribution of aid is the primary objective of any international humanitarian response, even if that means providing cross-border humanitarian assistance without the consent of the Assad regime and Russia.
Organizations signing on to this statement include:
Americans for a Free Syria
Free Syria PAC
Kayla’s List PAC
Syria Faith Initiative
Syrian American Council
Syrian Christians for Peace
Syrian Emergency Task Force
Syrian Forum USA
Syrian Institute for Progress