Ankara says reducing aid delivery gates to Syria to one ‘unfortunate’
Turkey on July 13 said it was “unfortunate” that the U.N. closed the access point for humanitarian aid to war-torn Syria through its Öncüpınar/Bab al-Salam border.
“It is an unfortunate approach not to include the Öncüpınar / Bab al-Salam border crossing into Syria for humanitarian delivery, which constitutes an important element of the mechanism, in the U.N. Security Council resolution this time,” a written statement by the Foreign Ministry said.
“In fact, the removal of the mechanism of this border crossing, will complicate humanitarian access to about 1.3 million civilians in Aleppo and responsibility assumed by Turkey will further deepen,” said the statement.
On the other hand, Turkey welcomed the continuation of the mechanism, even it is reduced merely to a single border crossing.
“This U.N. mechanism plays a crucial role in delivering immediate humanitarian aid to nearly 2.8 million needy people in northwestern Syria. In this regard, it is considered important that the mechanism has been preserved, albeit by lowering it to a single border crossing,” read the statement.
“In this context, Turkey will continue to make efforts to sustain the international humanitarian activities towards Syria uninterrupted manner; it will act in coordination and cooperation with all stakeholders, especially the U.N. and its affiliated institutions, to deal with additional tests that may result from the change in the said aid mechanism,” said the ministry.
The U.N. Security Council on July 11 approved delivering humanitarian aid to Syria for a year through one border gate. The 15-member council reduced the number of gates for aid deliveries from Turkey to Syria to one. Now only the Bab al-Hawa, opposite Cilvegozu border crossing, will remain open for aid delivery for another year.
After strenuous backroom negotiations, the arrangement was reached to prevent Russia’s veto and to renew the authorization -- which was in effect since 2014 and expired on July 10. The council had been deadlocked, with most members pitted against Syrian allies Russia and China, in the council’s fifth vote this week on the issue. The resolution drafted by Germany and Belgium was supported by 13 countries, while Russia, China, and the Dominican Republic having abstained.