Today, the 10th of July, the UN mandate for delivering aid into NW Syria through Bab Al Hawa crossing point expires. This comes at a time when the United Nation Security Council failed to come up with a plan for the cross-border mechanism.
The Syrian humanitarian crisis the civilians are experiencing in Syria is the outcome of the absence of a political solution. It has become clear how Russia is manipulating the cross-border mechanism as it keeps using humanitarian aid as a bargaining chip to gain concessions in its attempts to politically float the Assad regime.
Russia and the Assad regime attempt to use the UN as a cover to manipulate donor countries’ funds and use it in the reconstruction of the Assad regime’s institutions and prisons under the guise of early recovery packages, in a clear circumvention of international sanctions and conditions for reconstruction.
Russia’s political exploitation of humanitarian aid without the slightest regard for humanitarian values is a result of the current international situation and the absence of any real engagement with the political file in Syria, focusing on the humanitarian situation instead. This political exploitation poses a threat to the humanitarian situation in NW Syria and imposes a state of interruption to the work of humanitarian organizations alongside the absence of stability in the flow of life-saving aid to more than 4 million civilians, half of them being displaced.
The humanitarian and life-saving aid being subject to Russian blackmail cannot be accepted, nor the weaponization of aid by Russia and the regime can be accepted. Russia and the Assad regime politicizes aid distribution in its areas of control, and siphons aid to finance its terrorist operations to kill Syrians, while civilians are deprived of the aid. The Assad regime cannot be entrusted with more control over humanitarian aid, especially in light of the long history of Assad regime’s weaponization of aid to besiege and starve Syrians.
The Syrian humanitarian crisis the civilians are experiencing in Syria is the outcome of the absence of a political solution, the abandonment of the Security Council Resolution 2254, and the misleading political tracks that have led to political stalemate preventing the Syrian people from achieving their demands for change, accountability, justice, redressing victims and their families, and putting an end to the systematic violations of the Assad regime.
For The White Helmets, curtailing the demands of Syrians and restricting them to the continued entry of aid across the border is a reduction of the Syrian issue to a mere humanitarian issue. It is a betrayal to the Syrians and their sacrifices.
Furthermore, accepting to deal with the Assad regime to deliver aid from its controlled areas is an insult to the victims and their families, and an attempt to politically float the Assad regime which has murdered and displaced Syrian civilians and destroyed entire cities.
On behalf of The White Helmets, I urge the countries that support the Syrians’ right to a change to reactivate the political process in accordance with Security Council Resolution 2254 to end the 11-year-long Syrian crisis, and ensure that criminals do not resume power by the help of the international community.