Toronto, Canada- Months of intense bombing and displacement in North West Syria in early 2020, compounded by hyperinflation has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis. The price of a typical food basket has increased 200% in the past 6 months according to the World Food Program. Millions of Syrians depend on the aid that comes through the Turkish-Syrian border. By Friday July 10th, the international community will have to decide on the fate of Syrians as they vote on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC 2504) resolution to extend cross border aid deliveries into Syria.
Conditions in the country, particularly Northern Syria, warrant the immediate renewal of UNSC 2504. The Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic released a 29-page report detailing the intensified hostilities of parties to the conflict in Syria, particularly in Idlib and surrounding areas.
Aside from attacks on schools and markets, the commission reported a total of 17 attacks on medical facilities in the past 7 months. Hospitals that are partially operating due to attacks or hospitals that are struggling to purchase materials due to inflation will need the aid that comes through the Turkish-Syrian border to continue operating. Without local supply chains or procurement, maintaining cross-border operations will be vital. David Beasley, the head of the UN’s World Food Programme stated, “If we send cash in, they [Syrians] don’t have anything to buy, so we are now having to convert cash to food” (The National, 2020). Nearly 8 million people are food insecure, only half the country's health facilities are fully functional, and with the looming threat of Covid-19 and famine, Syrians more than ever will be relying on the lifesaving aid that comes through the Turkish-Syrian border (OCHA, 2020; WFP, 2020). Without the border access, many NGOs will be unable to carry out their activities thus creating “a vacuum of service delivery and putting upwards of a million people at risk of acute food insecurity.” (CSIS, 2020).
“The Security Council must set aside politics and pass a resolution that supports the humanitarian needs on the ground in Syria. Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salam are critical to humanitarian operations supporting millions of Syrians. Bab al-Hawa supports 2.8 million people in Idlib, while Bab al-Salam supports 1.4 million people in Northern Aleppo. Without this, mass starvation, disease and tremendous suffering are inevitable.” - Said Dr. Hussam Al Fakir, Chairman of UOSSM International
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