Humanitarian law cannot be blocked. The UN must deliver cross border aid regardless

In response to today’s UN Security Council vote on cross border aid to Syria, humanitarians and human rights organisations call for emergency aid to reach the millions that need it.

Jomana Qaddour, co-founder of Syria Relief and Development said:

“Facilitating cross-border humanitarian aid is the minimum we should be advocating for in Syria, a country that has suffered and continues to actively suffer from daily displacement, death, illness, and starvation. No country should be vetoing access to humanitarian aid.

“Many organizations, such as Syria Relief & Development, work with and implement alongside UN OCHA and other UN humanitarian agencies. Our work cannot continue if all aid is funneled through Damascus, and we reject weaponization of aid by any actor. Civilians in need of this aid have already paid a very high price.”

Laila Kiki, Executive Director of The Syria Campaign said:

“Russia is making a mockery of humanitarian law by blocking the delivery of food, medical care and lifesaving aid to the 3.5 million civilians trapped in northern Syria. The Security Council must ensure all channels remain open so that aid can reach people without the interference of the Assad regime which systematically uses food and medicine as a weapon of war. If the basic humanitarian principles cannot be upheld by the Security Council through a renewal of the resolution, the UN must continue to deliver across borders regardless. They have a moral and legal responsibility to do so.”

Fuad Sayed Issa, Founder of Violet Organization in Idlib said:

“Tens of thousands of families will suffer massively if the UN fails to renew the cross border aid resolution to Syria. More than one million in displacement camps and 2.3 million displaced across Idlib who rely heavily on humanitarian aid will be directly impacted.

“I fear that when UN aid stops, which makes more than 40% of aid to Idlib, other international and regional organisations might follow their lead. We will see a huge drop in international funds.

“If cross border aid is blocked today, it’s going to be a catastrophe for the Syrian local organisations in areas that are out of regime’s control, destroying years of effort building a resilient and coherent civil society. They will be left with two hard choices: shutting down or working with the regime, which  will put thousands of humanitarian workers at risk.”

Obaida Dandoush, humanitarian activist in Idlib said:

“The UNSC resolution 2165 allows cross border humanitarian aid from four crossings: Ramtha Jordan, Yarubia Iraq, Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salamah Turkey. But Russia is trying everything to block this resolution from being renewed this year, and if it succeeds today, it will create a humanitarian crisis in northern Syria. The four million civilians in Idlib will suffer from great hunger, denied basic medical care, shelter and food. More than half of people here are displaced and rely completely on humanitarian aid.”