A document seen by Agence France-Presse showed that the United Nations is concerned about the “unacceptable conditions” imposed by Damascus to use the Bab al-Hawa border crossing to provide humanitarian aid to opposition areas in northwestern Syria.
The letter from the Syrian authorities allowing the use of this crossing between Turkey and Syria “contains two unacceptable conditions,” believed the Security Council of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which is concerned about the ban on speaking to entities “designated as ‘terrorists'” and on “supervision” of its operations by other organisations.
Syria announced that it would authorize the United Nations for a period of six months to use Bab al-Hawa to deliver vital humanitarian aid to millions of people in opposition areas. This announcement came after the expiration of the UN mechanism, which has allowed UN convoys to enter opposition areas since 2014 by crossing the border without permission from Damascus.
The Security Council failed to extend it this week, after Russia, a key ally of Damascus, vetoed a nine-month extension. But while the United Nations was working with this mechanism, the Bashar al-Assad regime, which considered the mechanism a violation of its sovereignty, set conditions in its letter addressed to the Security Council and the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Osha said the Syrian government’s mandate “could serve as the basis for a legal procedure for UN humanitarian operations through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing”.
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