The Security Council unanimously decided today to extend the use of the Bab al-Hawa border crossing for the delivery of aid into north-west Syria until 10 July 2023, as members subsequently assessed the propriety of the six-month extension.
Through resolution 2672 (2023) (to be issued as document S/RES/2672(2023)), the Council decided to confirm, pursuant to paragraph 2 of resolution 2642 (2022), the extension of its previous authorization of the Bab al-Hawa crossing point on Syria’s border with Türkiye, first laid out in paragraphs 2 and 3 of resolution 2165 (2014). The Council also requested the Secretary-General to provide a special report on humanitarian needs in Syria no later than 10 June 2023.
The Council also demanded the full, immediate implementation of all provisions of all relevant Council resolutions and called on Member States to address the urgent needs of the Syrian people in light of the profound socioeconomic and humanitarian impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on that country. It also urged further initiatives to broaden humanitarian activity in Syria.
Through the text, the Council requested the Secretary-General to brief the Council monthly and to provide a regular report — at least every 60 days — on the implementation of relevant resolutions, which should include overall trends in unhindered, safe United Nations cross-line operations and certain information on humanitarian assistance delivered through cross-border operations. The Council also encouraged the convening of an informal interactive dialogue every two months to regularly review the implementation of today’s resolution, including progress in early recovery projects.
After the vote, Switzerland’s representative, also speaking for Brazil, said that today’s adoption comes at a time when the 4.1 million people in need of assistance in north-west Syria are facing harsh winter conditions. Thanking Council members for their support, she said that the resolution allows humanitarian actors to continue to deliver aid in a coordinated, carefully monitored manner and to provide life-saving and early recovery assistance at scale.
The representatives of the United Kingdom, France, Japan and the United States, however, cautioned against shorter mandates as they urged the Council to extend the cross-border Mechanism in 12-month increments. The latter delegate said that, while it is important that the Council came together today, “this resolution represents the bare minimum”. She added that the United States — the leading donor to humanitarian-response plans for Syria — will not support reconstruction efforts led by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Government until there is a political resolution to the conflict.
The representatives of China and the Russian Federation, in turn, both spotlighted the impact of unilateral sanctions on humanitarian assistance in Syria. The Russian Federation’s representative also stressed that Western delegations are focusing their efforts on inflating the myth that deliveries through the cross-border Mechanism cannot be supplanted with cross-line deliveries, which do not violate Syria’s sovereignty. He stated that a new six-month extension in July will not occur unless the approach to providing humanitarian assistance in Syria changes.
Meanwhile, Syria’s delegate highlighted some Western States’ persistent politicization of humanitarian work, also pointing to their failure to deliver on pledges to fund the humanitarian-response plan and their imposition of unilateral coercive measures that have aggravated the suffering of the Syrian people. Stressing that his country has been deploying all efforts to improve the living conditions of its people without discrimination, he urged that the text of any new resolution address, inter alia, the need for expanded early recovery projects and the negative repercussions of unilateral coercive measures on humanitarian work in Syria.
Also speaking were representatives of Brazil (also for Switzerland), Ecuador (for the 10 elected Council members) and the United Arab Emirates.
The meeting began at 10:04 a.m. and ended at 10:46 a.m.