BY DAILY SABAH
Türkiye stressed the need to extend a vital border crossing into Syria that would enable continued access for the people to reach aid in the war-torn country during talks with Russia.
“The vital role of the extension of the U.N.’s cross-border aid mechanism for Syria to deliver urgent humanitarian aid to over 4 million people in need was reaffirmed. Benefits of the ongoing implementation of the crossline assistance were also recognized,” a Foreign Ministry statement read on Saturday.
The long-running aid operation has been in place since 2014 and the most recent six-month authorization expires on Jan. 10, 2023.
The cross-border aid operation into Syria first started at four locations but was cut down to one through Türkiye last year into the opposition-held area because of the opposition from Russia and China – two of the veto-wielding powers at the Security Council.
Over 4 million people in Syria’s northwest rely on cross-border humanitarian operations for food aid, essential medicine and other basic humanitarian goods, according to the U.N.
According to the U.N.’s situation report published this month, in November, 693 trucks loaded with food, cholera kits, shelter items and other aid crossed from Türkiye to northwestern Syria, reaching 2.7 million people on average.
In the country’s northwest, 3.3 million people are insecure while 2.9 million are displaced internally.
“Today, 44% of the population in northwestern Syria cannot afford bread. As of September 2022, the average price of a WFP (World Food Programme) food basket, comprising bread, vegetable oil, sugar, lentils and rice, has increased nearly fourfold in two years. Over the last seven months alone, the price of vegetable oil and wheat flour has increased by over 40% because of the impacts of the crisis in Ukraine,” the U.N. said.
For years, the Assad regime has ignored the needs and safety of the Syrian people, only eyeing further gains of territory and crushing the opposition. With this aim, the regime has bombed vital facilities like schools, hospitals and residential areas for years causing the displacement of almost half of the country’s population while adopting policies to make their lives even more miserable.