The United States on Sunday, February 12 had called for the United Nations Security Council to “vote immediately” to go signal the delivery of U.N. aid to rebel-held northwest Syria through more border crossings from Turkey after last week’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the two countries. .
The U.N. has been able to deliver aid to millions of people in need in the northwest part of war-torn Syria through Turkey under a Security Council mandate since 2014. However, it is currently restricted to using just one border crossing.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., in a statement said “Right now, every hour matters, people in the affected areas are counting on us.”
“We cannot let them down – we must vote immediately on a resolution to heed the U.N.’s call for authorization of additional border crossings for the delivery of humanitarian assistance,” she said. “It’s time to move with urgency and purpose.” Greenfield added.
U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths, is due to visit Syria, on Saturday that he would ask the Security Council to authorize aid access through two more border crossings, arguing there is “a very clear humanitarian case.”
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday pressed for more access.
On the 15-member Security Council, Brazil and Switzerland lead the action-related negotiation to the Syria humanitarian aid access issue. No draft resolution has yet been circulated to authorize more crossings, the diplomats said.
As of Sunday, the death toll from the earthquake last week in Turkey and Syria passed 33,000. So far, Syria recorded 3,500 deaths, where the number has not been updated for two days, the majority occurred in the northwest part of the country.
Resolution for an additional aid access to Syria would need nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, Britain or France to pass. Syrian ally Russia has said that the existing council mandate for a single border crossing was enough.
The Syrian government is seeing aid deliveries across its border without its approval as a violation of sovereignty. It says aid should be delivered across the frontlines of the 12-year-old civil war. On Friday it approved aid deliveries across frontlines.
However, the U.N. said on Sunday that earthquake aid from government-held parts of Syria into the rebel-held northwest part of the country has been held up by “approval issues” with one hardline group.
The ambassadors of Brazil and Switzerland said on Friday wanted U.N. aid chief Griffiths to brief the Security Council before any action was discussed. Diplomats said Griffiths is likely to speak to it on Monday.
The U.N. aid chief on Sunday visited the one Turkish border crossing that the U.N. is currently authorized to use to deliver aid to northwest Syria, where some 4 million people needed help before the earthquake struck the region.
In a twitter post, Griffiths said “We have so far failed the people in northwest Syria,”