Blinken calls for reopening of Turkish border crossing into Syria

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called for the United Nations Security Council to reauthorize the reopening of two closed border crossings into Syria to facilitate better access for humanitarian aid, CNN reported on Monday.

“The lives of people in Syria depend on getting urgent help. We have to do everything in our power to create ways for that aid to get to them, to open pathways, not to close them,” Blinken said.

The decision to reopen the two crossings, Bab al Salam on the Turkish border and Al Yarubiyah on the Iraqi border, isn’t one of the complicated decisions the UNSC has to make, the secretary added.

Following a July 2020 veto by China and Russia, humanitarian aid into the war-torn country can only go through the Bab al Hawa border crossing on the Turkish border.

There was “no good reason at the time” in not reauthorizing the crossings, Blinken said. “Members of this council have a job to do: reauthorize all three border crossings for humanitarian assistance.”

The secretary spoke against the targeting of aid workers and “making humanitarian assistance on which millions of Syrians lives depends a political issue”.

There are more than 24 million people in need of aid in Syria, according to the United Nations.

In a reference to Syrian regime’s main backer Russia, Blinken said providing cross-border aid would not infringe on the sovereignty of President Bashar Assad’s regime.

“Sovereignty was never intended to ensure the right of any government to starve people,” he said.

Turkey and Russia have been looking to reach a deal to open another border crossing, the Abu Zandin in last rebel stronghold Idlib, but efforts have failed so far.