U.S. envoy to U.N. to visit Turkey’s border with Syria

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, will be visiting Turkey’s Syrian border regions between Wednesday and Friday, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The U.S. envoy is set to meet with senior Turkish officials, U.N. agencies, Syrian refugees and aid groups, and Washington’s “strong support for humanitarian access into Syria and the U.S. commitment to the people of Syria”, Reuters cited a U.S. official as saying.

Continued cross-border humanitarian aid is the most urgent matter, the U.S. official told the news agency.

Four border crossings into Syria were authorised for the passage of humanitarian aid in 2014, but the U.N. Security Council annulled authorisation for all but one in 2020, due to Russia and China vetoing the renewal.

The current mandate for the cross-border humanitarian aid operation is set to expire on July 10, which could lead to another showdown, Reuters said.

The resolution to extend the operation needs nine votes in favour and no veto from the five permanent members of the Security Council.

The cross-border operation is necessary to “deliver the amount of aid in the frequency needed to support vulnerable populations in northern Syria”, the official told Reuters.

U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock last week appealed to the Security Council in favour of the operation, which he called a “lifeline” for some three million Syrians.

Speaking to the council on Wednesday, Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said one border crossing wouldn’t be enough to meet the “mass needs of the Syrian people”, and that “people will die” if the operation doesn’t continue.

Russia’s deputy U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy in turn said Western countries were disregarding the importance of humanitarian aid the Syrian regime sent to the rest of the country.