series event

Cross-Border Humanitarian Mechanism to northwest Syria: current status and implications

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The politicisation of health and humanitarian aid in Syria has adversely affected access to essential aid for millions of civilians; something which was seen starkly in the wake of the February 2023 earthquakes. Early in the conflict, interrupted aid to areas outside of government control led to calls for cross-border aid from neighbouring countries. In 2014, the first UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution on cross-border aid was introduced and four border crossings (two to northwest Syria from Turkey, one to southern Syria from Jordan and one to northeast Syria from Iraq) were opened; this allowed the flow of humanitarian aid with limited interference from the Syrian government. However, the resolutions were subject to initially annual then six-monthly renewals with votes at the UNSC council; as such, they were often subject to vetoes by Russia who sits on the council but is also a major actor in the conflict. As of July 2020, only Bab Al-Hawa border crossing to northwest Syria remained open but subject to six monthly renewal. This lifeline to 4 million people in northwest Syria, most of whom are women and children is under threat due to the 10 July 2023 vote at the UNSC, where Russia vetoed renewal of the cross-border mechanism and subsequent politicking by the Syrian government. 

In this webinar, we hear from humanitarian, legal and policy experts about the implications of the UNSC resolution veto, current key considerations and potential future avenues to providing life-saving humanitarian aid to the population in northwest Syria.



Natasha Hall, Centre for Strategic and International Studies



Free and open to all, online and in person. No registration required. A recording of this session will be available after the event on this page.