Middle East

Syria, allies rebuke UN call for extension of cross-border corridors

The Damascus government and its allies have criticized a UN call for the extension of the cross-border aid mechanism in Syria, saying it hampers the government’s efforts to restore stability in the war-torn country.

During the UN Security Council’s monthly meeting on Syria on Monday, the Arab country’s permanent representative to the UN, Bassam Sabbagh, was backed by envoys from Russia, China, and Iran in calling for respect his country’s sovereignty.

“The [Syrian] government is enhancing its efforts to restore security and stability and overcome the repercussions of the crisis through reconciliation and work to repair the infrastructure,” Sabbagh said, according to an official transcript of the meeting.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for the Security Council to extend its authorization of cross-border aid into northwest Syria by a year.

President Bashar al-Assad’s government has repeatedly denounced the cross-border mechanism as a violation of Syria’s sovereignty and a tool to advance Western agendas in the country. Moscow and Beijing have generally agreed. They argue that aid to opposition-held territories should instead be routed “cross-line” from Damascus.

The UN resolution allowing aid deliveries across the Syrian-Turkish border at Bab al-Hawa has been in effect since 2014.

Last July, UN Security Council adopted resolution 2585 to extend the authorization of the cross-border aid mechanism. The resolution allowed the aid into Syria from the Bab al-Hawa border to run for six months until January 10, 2022, and then for an extension of an additional six months until July 10, 2022.

At the time of the adoption of the resolution, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad said that adopting resolution 2585 in its written form was an achievement because it included all aspects which Western countries had refused to consider.

The top diplomat underlined that the new resolution has put many restrictions on the movement of goods. He said Western states disrespect international borders and use the crossings to violate Syria’s territorial integrity.

Concerns have also grown over the West’s efforts, made under the guise of humanitarian assistance to support Takfiri terrorist groups that have been suffering heavy defeats against Syrian government forces.

Addressing the UN Security Council meeting, Sabbagh reiterated that Western countries have refused to abide by resolution 2585 in different ways and reneged on their promises to increase the delivery of humanitarian aid from within the country.

“Western countries have, both directly and indirectly, refused to implement resolution 2585, reneging on commitments to enhance the delivery of humanitarian aid from within Syria,” he said.

“They continue to focus on the cross-border mechanism — evident in the disparity between the number of cross-border and cross-line convoys — and propagate misinformation while fighting the implementation of the resolution on the ground,” he said.

Since the adoption of resolution 2585, only five cross-line convoys have been deployed to provide aid to the war-ravaged areas. This is while Last June, the UN reported that over 1,000 aid trucks were entering via Bab al-Hawa every month.

The Syrian envoy stressed that the Turkish regime and its terrorist agents are the only beneficiaries of the cross-border mechanism, adding that “the so-called donor community has unnecessarily linked early recovery and resilience to politicized conditions.”

“The Turkish regime’s threat to establish a so-called safe zone in northern Syria demonstrates its subversive policies to destabilize Syria by supporting terrorism, displacing people, and effecting demographic change,” he said.

“Terrorism against Syria persists, especially through the Turkish regime’s threatened aggression and Israel’s direct aggression.”

Sabbagh said Israel’s June 10 attack on the Damascus International Airport forced the shutdown of the facility resulting in political, humanitarian, military, and economic repercussions for the Syrians.

Despite the fact that all United Nations deliveries of humanitarian workers and life-saving supplies through that airport were forced to a halt following the attack, he said, “certain Western delegations continue to obfuscate and prevent the Council from condemning this violation of international law.”

 

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