On Monday, the United Nations declared two fresh entry points from Turkey to Syria’s northwest, controlled by the rebels, would be opened by the president. This would provide vital aid and supplies to assist millions of individuals affected by an earthquake.
Syrian President Allowed Entry of Humanitarian Aid
Earlier on Monday, after inspecting the destruction caused by the massive 7.8 earthquake in southern Turkey and northwestern Syria, U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths held a meeting with the Syrian president, Bashar Assad, in Damascus.
This is where the decision to open the crossing points was made.
During a virtual briefing to the U.N. Security Council, Griffiths informed the diplomats that Assad agreed to open the two new crossings. Guterres made an official announcement of the decision in a closed meeting.
Syria has agreed to open two new crossing points from Turkey to the country’s rebel-held northwest to deliver desperately needed aid and equipment to earthquake victims, the U.N. says. https://t.co/pYNSs3ushM
— ABC News (@ABC) February 14, 2023
While the meeting was ongoing, Syria’s U.N. ambassador, Bassam Sabbagh, spoke to reporters, stating Assad had a productive and affirmative meeting with Griffiths.
He also confirmed the immediate requirement for aid to reach all parts of Syria, including those occupied and controlled by terrorist groups.
Sabbagh stated based on this, Syria is in favor of the entry of humanitarian aid via all available points, including those inside Syria and across borders, to ensure the supply of aid to individuals affected by the earthquake for the next three months in northwestern Syria.
Request for Swift Implementation of the Decision to Open New Crossings
Brazil and Switzerland, who monitor Syria’s cross-border issues in the council, requested swift implementation of the decision to open the two new crossings.
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price expressed hope that Assad’s decision is genuine, highlighting the regime’s earlier objection to opening additional humanitarian crossings.
He believed the move would benefit the Syrian people.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agrees to allow #UN aid deliveries to opposition-held northwest #Syria through two border crossings from #Turkey for three months, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says.https://t.co/oWqLouz0qj
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) February 14, 2023
Since the earthquake hit the northwest region controlled by the rebels, the United Nations has been under immense pressure to provide more aid and critical equipment to the affected areas.
The death toll continues to increase; survivors are facing difficulties rescuing others, due to a lack of necessary tools.
According to the White Helmets, the death toll in the rebel-held northwest region has risen to 2,166, while the Syrian Health Ministry in Damascus reported 1,414 deaths in government-held areas.
The overall death toll in Syria is 3,580. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric cited the difficulties of operating in Syria’s ongoing 12-year war as a significant obstacle.
Dujarric addressed the criticisms of the U.N. for not providing prompt assistance to the earthquake victims.
He mentioned 58 aid trucks arrived in the northwest through the Bab Al-Hawa crossing. However, he also emphasized the U.N. lacks heavy equipment along with search and rescue teams.
Therefore, the international community needs to come together to provide the necessary aid and support to all the affected individuals.