First UN convoy since quake enters northwest Syria from Türkiye

First UN convoy since quake enters northwest Syria from Türkiye

First UN convoy since quake enters northwest Syria from Türkiye

The United Nation’s first aid convoy has crossed into northwest Syria from Türkiye three days after a massive earthquake hit the region.

The aid convoy reached rebel-held northwestern Syria on Feb. 9, the first since a devastating earthquake that has killed thousands, an official at the Bab al-Hawa border crossing told AFP.

“The first U.N. aid convoy entered today,” said Mazen Alloush, media officer at the crossing. An AFP correspondent saw six trucks passing through the crossing from Türkiye, carrying tents and hygiene products.

Alloush noted the delivery had been expected before Feb. 6’s quake but said: “It could be considered an initial response from the United Nations, and it should be followed, as we were promised, with bigger convoys to help our people.”

The aid delivery mechanism from Türkiye into rebel-held Syria through the Bab al-Hawa crossing is the only way U.N. assistance can reach civilians without passing through areas controlled by Syrian government forces.

While the crossing itself was not affected by the quake, the road leading to it was damaged, temporarily disrupting operations, a U.N. spokesman said on Feb. 7.

U.N. special envoy Geir Pederson said on Feb. 9 that the emergency response in Syria should “not be politicized” following “one of the most catastrophic earthquakes the region has seen in about a century.”

He told reporters in Geneva that the U.N. had been “assured today that we would be able to get through the first assistance today.”

Türkiye makes effort to open two more border gates: FM

Türkiye is working for the opening of two more border gates into Syria to enable the delivery of humanitarian aid to its neighbor, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Feb. 8.

“Cilvegozu border gate is open. We are working to open two more gates. This is a humanitarian issue, not a political one. We also provide the necessary support for the aid to reach Syria,” the minister told reporters at a news conference.

In a separate press conference with his Turkish Cypriot counterpart, Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu, Çavuşoğlu said Türkiye had received offers of assistance from 95 countries and 16 international organizations. A total of 6,479 personnel from 56 countries are on the field, while emergency teams from 19 more countries will be in the country within 24 hours.

The Foreign Ministry dispatched diplomats, including 11 ambassadors, to the quake zone for the coordination of foreign assistance, he added.