On 12th of July, 2022, the UN Security Council approved the conditional renewal of humanitarian aid through the Bab Al-Hawa crossing. Still I Rise’s alarm: “The lives of 4.4 million people have been turned into an instrument of political pressure.”
The lives of 4.4 million people are sacrificial pawns in a cynical chess match played between international politicians. This is the result of the conditional renewal of UN Resolution No. 2642 (2022), voted on 12th of July by the Security Council.
The resolution decrees the passage of humanitarian aid into Northwestern Syria through the Bab Al-Hawa crossing, but – due to the disagreement between Russia and some member countries – the aid mechanism will have to be renewed in six months. This will be the middle of winter: the most critical period for the livelihoods of 1.8 million people in the region’s camps.
Russia is an ally of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, and has consistently threatened to veto this resolution over the years. Now it aims to exploit the next six months in parallel informal negotiations. The goal is to force a new vote in January to transform the resolution’s current status from a cross-border aid agreement to a de-facto recognition of the Syrian regime as a primary partner. Meanwhile, the same regime continues to bomb civilians living in Idlib governorate even during active ceasefire.
“The survival of more than 4 million people cannot depend on the interests of international powers: using humanitarian aid as a political weapon is not only cruel, but criminal. What will happen in January, in the depth of winter, when the resolution has to be negotiated again?”, said Giulia Cicoli, Advocacy Director of Still I Rise.
Indeed, the situation in Northwestern Syria is getting worse, year after year. The population is under constant threat of bombardment and the economic crisis has led to people having to struggle every day between life and death. At least one in three children suffers from acute malnutrition. In addition, international funds have been cut and reallocated to the Ukrainian crisis.
In the Idlib area, 14 attacks by pro-government forces were also confirmed in the second half of 2021, resulting in casualties and injuries. Among them, at least 64 children were killed. Last year there were 15 verified attacks on schools and education centers.
Giulia Cicoli concluded, “This continuous massacre has been going on for over 11 years. The international community continues to play a game at the expense of people. How much longer will we have to witness this?”