UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was open to the idea of sending aid to Syria through border crossings other than Bab al-Hawa – the only UN-sanctioned humanitarian link between Turkey and the rebels. Islamic Aid Corridor – Control of northern Syria.
“Of course I would be very happy if the Security Council could reach a consensus to allow the use of more border crossings, because we also need to improve our ability to conduct cross-line operations from Damascus to Idlib,” Guterres said. “Many non- UN relief agencies are already moving supplies through other border crossings.”
On Tuesday, the United Nations said the Bab al-Hawa crossing was “virtually intact,” but the road to the crossing was damaged in Monday’s earthquake, hampering rescue efforts.
The first UN convoy of six trucks entered northern Syria through the Bab al-Hawa crossing on Thursday, according to Guterres. “The United Nations has raced to respond as best it can,” he said, adding that “more help is on the way, but more, more help is needed.”
“When the earthquake struck, the humanitarian crisis in northwestern Syria had already worsened, with needs at their highest level since the conflict began,” Guterres said, describing the urgent need for emergency humanitarian aid to Syria. “We regretfully realize that we have yet to witness the full extent of the devastation and the humanitarian crisis unfold.”
Guterres said the United Nations would launch an urgent appeal early next week for donors to support Syria. He added that it had allocated $25 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund for Syria, and that UN agencies and international and national NGOs were assessing initial funding needs for the next three months.
“These resources will be used by the humanitarian community for critical assistance: shelter, health, nutrition, water, sanitation, hygiene, education, protection and psychosocial support services,” Guterres explained.
Guterres also said that UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths was in Turkey to assess areas affected by the quake. Griffiths will also visit Gaziantep, Aleppo and Damascus to assess aid needs.