Syria to reopen border crossing from Türkiye: UN


NEW YORK: The United Nations (UN) has announced a breakthrough agreement with the Syrian government to reopen a key border crossing from Türkiye, enabling the delivery of crucial humanitarian aid to Syria’s northwest.

According to the Associated Press of Pakistan, the Bab al-Hawa crossing, in use since 2014 under UN Security Council authorization, will remain accessible for six months, providing millions of Syrians with essential assistance. About 85 per cent of aid deliveries from Türkiye have been channeled through this crossing.

This development comes as the region faces heightened humanitarian needs after over 12 years of conflict and recent devastating earthquakes.

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the agreement, reached after discussions between UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths and Syrian officials. The deal also grants the UN access to the Bab al-Salam and Al-Ra’ee border crossings for an additional three months. These crossings were initially opened earlier this year as part of emergency response efforts following the February earthquakes in Syria and Türkiye.

The northwest region serves as the last stronghold for opposition forces in Syria, and humanitarian aid has been flowing into this area from Türkiye via the cross-border mechanism approved by the UN Security Council in 2014.

Rising concerns about funding shortfalls continue to challenge the humanitarian response in Syria. Despite the pressing needs, the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan for Syria remains only 12.4 per cent funded.

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This financial crisis has led organizations like the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to announce significant aid reductions, including cuts to monthly food rations. Ramesh Rajasingham from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) emphasized that urgent funding is required to avoid making tough decisions in this challenging environment.

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