Syria: International aid cuts put millions of displaced Syrians at great risks


GENEVA – The Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties (GCRL) has warned that millions of displaced people in Syria face huge risks due to international aid suspension after the UN Security Council failure to renew aid delivery mechanism.
GCRL expressed its grave concern over the expiry of the mandate of the UN cross-border humanitarian aid to millions of Syrians on Friday, due to the political division between the member states of the Council.
Internally displaced Syrians who are fleeing violence across different parts of the country depend heavily on international assistance and the slush of aid would be an existential threat to them.
The Syrian regime launched an attack with the support of Russia last December on the Idlib region forcing nearly one million people to flee their areas following a ceasefire declared by Moscow that was implemented on March 6. These desperate people are currently without any source of humanitarian aid.
According to the United Nations, nearly 2.8 million people located inside and around Idlib rely on cross-border aid to ensure their daily basic needs. The Security Council failed to renew the cross-border aid delivery mechanism, a system in place since 2014, due to Russian pressure that the aid entry points should be restricted only to “Bab al-Hawa” crossing point and demanding an end to the use of the “Bab al-Salam” border crossing, which leads to the Aleppo region in northern Syria.
It is noteworthy that cross-border deliveries were reduced to two instead of four at the beginning of this year, and for a period of six months while it was on an annual basis since its establishment.
The Geneva Council also warned that the risk of international aid suspension could be even worse with at least three medical personnel being infected with the Coronavirus in Idlib since Thursday which rings alarm bells over a looming health disaster if the epidemic breaks out in the overcrowded camps.
It also stressed that the failure to renew the international aid mechanism to reach those in need would lead to a catastrophe, given that most of the displaced in the camps depend entirely on the monthly food basket.
GCRL warned that stopping cross-border aid would be a devastating blow to the millions of Syrian families who rely on this lifesaving assistance to get food, health care, and shelter.
Amid emerging signs of European efforts to hold a new vote on the extension of the international aid mechanism this weekend, Geneva Council of Rights and Liberties (GCRL) urges a speedy push for consensus among Security Council members and to stop politicising humanitarian aid.
GCRL stressed that there can be no justification for exposing civilians to the lack of humanitarian aid and supplies which is a flagrant violation of the international humanitarian law that must be immediately reversed.

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