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______________________________________________
For Oral Answer on : 11/05/2021
Question Number(s): 55 Question Reference(s): 24021/21
Department: Foreign Affairs
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
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QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the work of his Department to ensure that the remaining international crossing between Turkey and Syria stays open given that over 2.7 million people are reliant on assistance arriving via this crossing with regard to the humanitarian crisis in Syria; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY


As the civil war in Syria enters its eleventh year, humanitarian needs remain extremely high. Across Syria, 13.4 million people need humanitarian assistance including almost 3 million people in the North West of the country.

On the Security Council, Ireland acts with Norway as ‘co-penholder’ on the Syria Humanitarian file. In this role, we have strongly advocated for humanitarian aid to be able to reach all people in need. We are undertaking extensive engagement with all relevant parties, including Council Members, countries in the region, the UN system and civil society.

Since 2014, the UN Security Council has recognised through successive Resolutions the importance of ensuring humanitarian access in Syria including, where necessary, across borders through UN mandated crossing points.

In July 2020 , the Security Council extended the mandate for the UN to use the border crossing at Bab al-Hawa, between Turkey and North West Syria, for the delivery of humanitarian aid for a period of twelve months.

I visited Bab al-Hawa in January, and saw first-hand the scale of the operation, as well as the professionalism and transparency of the operation.

Humanitarian need in the North West is even greater now than when the existing mandate was agreed last summer. The spread of COVID-19, and a deteriorating economic situation, have further exacerbated the humanitarian situation.

As we move towards the date of expiry of the current mandate on 10 July, it is clear that it would not be possible to meet the extensive humanitarian needs in Syria without the renewal of the cross border Resolution. This includes the border crossing in the North West. The Resolution should be renewed for as long as is necessary to meet the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people.