Aid groups warn of dire consequences if Syria mission stops

BEIRUT (AP) — Unless the U.N. Security Council approves aid shipments to rebel-held areas in northwestern Syria next month, aid agencies warned on Thursday that about 4 million people in the region will have food supplies by September will run out. .

Concerns have grown in recent months that the situation in Syria’s Idlib province will get worse as Russia could force international aid to the northwest through its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. available in parts of Syria.

Currently, aid flows directly into the Idlib enclave from Turkey through a single crossing point, Bab al-Hawa. The UN mandate to allow deliveries through Bab al-Hawa ended on July 9, with Russia hinting it would veto a Security Council resolution extending the mandate.

The mission expires this year amid growing tensions between Russia and the West over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine four months ago.

“This is an absolutely critical moment where the Syrian people are not forced to pay for their geopolitical differences,” David Miliband, chairman of the International Rescue Committee, told an online briefing on Thursday.

Russia’s veto would effectively give Assad control of aid to the opposition enclave; the US and EU have warned they will stop funding if that happens.

Cross-border aid to northwest Syria, which supports 1.4 million people a month, “remains an urgent prerequisite for the Syrian conflict,” Miliband said.

The council’s country director for Syria, Tanya Evans, said the global food crisis was “particularly devastating” for Syria, especially Idlib, home to many internally displaced by the 11-year war. home. The conflict has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced half of the country’s pre-war population of 23 million.

“If the mechanism is not updated in July, food supplies are expected to run out by September,” she warned. Evans said NGOs estimate they have the capacity to scale up and provide food aid to about 300,000 people — – This means that more than 1 million people will be without food in September.

Sherine Ibrahim, director of Turkey’s CARE, said that if the resolution is not updated, about 80 percent of the protection services provided by the United Nations “will come to an abrupt end”. She warned that it would be women and children who would be most affected.

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