UNITED NATIONS: Syria has extended for three months humanitarian aid access into quake-stricken rebel-held areas from Turkiye via two border crossings, a United Nations representative said on Saturday.
The Syrian foreign minister conveyed the decision “to allow the UN to continue using the Al Ra’ee and Bab Al-Salam crossings for an additional three months,” Eri Kaneko, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said in a statement. There was no immediate comment from Damascus.
Syrians affected by the Feb 6 earthquake that killed more than 55,000 people in Syria and Turkiye have been relying on the two border crossings for vital humanitarian deliveries.
Following international pressure, Damascus agreed to let the UN use the Bab al-Salama and Al-Rai crossings, operated by Turkish-backed rebels, to bring in food and medical supplies for three months.
The permission had been set to expire May 13, so Syria’s decision was welcome news for those affected as well as for human rights organisations, which had urged the UN to continue deliveries even absent re-authorisation from Damascus.
Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2023
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