UN chief says no choice but to ship aid across Syria's border

Orient Net 2019-12-17 08:12:00

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The United Nations has no other choice than to keep on shipping humanitarian aid across Syria's borders and over front lines in the country's war, according to a report submitted Monday (December 16) by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to the Security Council.

The members of the Security Council are debating the renewal of the mission, whose mandate expires at the start of next year.

"Humanitarian assistance provided by United Nations agencies included food for an average of 4.3 million people in need each month and more than 1.3 million health and medical treatments to people throughout the country," Guterres noted.

"Cross-border assistance remained a vital part of the humanitarian response" to the more than 11 million people in need," he added.

"It is in no one's interest to block this resolution," one diplomat told AFP, asking not to be named, although some diplomats noted the propensity of Russia, the main backer of the Assad regime, to push for more regime control over the war-torn country.

Four entry points into Syria -- two from Turkey, one from Jordan and one from Iraq -- are currently used to ferry aid to in those in need. Negotiations are underway to open a fifth crossing, on the Turkish border with northern Syria, to cope with the extra needs in the area this year.

"The United Nations does not have an alternative means of reaching people in need in the areas in which cross-border assistance is being provided," Guterres said in the report.

"Humanitarian assistance provided by United Nations agencies included food for an average of 4.3 million people in need each month and more than 1.3 million health and medical treatments to people throughout the country," Guterres noted.

"Cross-border assistance ... remained a vital part of the humanitarian response," he added.

The report said that the overall situation in Syria deteriorated even further in 2019 and added that everything should be done to avoid a military offensive in the northwestern area of Idlib where more than three million people currently live.

Based on AFP, AP

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