UN completes 200 cross-border Syria aid missions since February quakes

UN completes 200 cross-border Syria aid missions since February quakes
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Since the initial inter-agency visit to Idlib on February 14 following the destructive earthquakes that affected both Syria and Turkey, the United Nations has carried out 200 cross-border missions to Syria, a spokesperson reported.

In the most recent mission on Sunday via Bab al-Salam, personnel from the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted monitoring visits to health facilities and warehouses in Afrin and Azaz. Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, shared on Tuesday that the UN, in collaboration with humanitarian partners, maintains its provision of urgently needed aid through the Bab al-Salam and Al-Ra’ee crossings.

Dujarric conveyed that 17 trucks loaded with humanitarian shelter items from the International Organization for Migration and the UN Refugee Agency entered the Northwest region through Bab al-Salam on the same day.

Originally opened for a three-month period after the February earthquakes, Bab al-Salam and Al-Ra’ee, situated on the Turkish border, have seen their authorization for use extended multiple times.

The spokesperson noted that the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, previously a main route for cross-border aid delivery into Northwest Syria, has not yet been utilized by the UN. This is due to the Security Council’s failure in July to reauthorize its use. Nevertheless, the Syrian government subsequently granted permission for aid delivery through Bab al-Hawa, and on August 7, an agreement was reached with the UN to continue employing the crossing for the next six months.

Dujarric clarified that they are still in the process of finalizing operational details for implementing the agreement.

On February 6, consecutive earthquakes measuring 7.8 and 7.7 on the Richter scale struck Turkey and Syria. The confirmed death toll reached 59,259, with 50,783 reported in Turkey and 8,476 in Syria. These earthquakes marked the deadliest in recent history for both neighboring countries.