It is expected that the Security Council will hold a meeting after the tenth of next July in order to renew the vote on Resolution 2533, which provides for the flow of humanitarian aid to Syria from the Syrian-Turkish border through the Bab al-Hawa crossing off Idlib govern orate.
As the date of the session approaches, the United Nations warns the Security Council of the failure to extend the mechanism for the delivery of international humanitarian aid to Syria, which could constitute a humanitarian catastrophe for more than 3 million Syrians living in northwestern Syria. Read also Russia and China veto the Security Council against extending the aid mechanism to Syria across the border Syrian refugees 2021.. Catastrophic numbers reveal the scale of the tragedy Syria.. The first phase of the Bab Al-Hawa road expansion project is nearing completion The closure of the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey doubles the suffering of Syrian patients north of Idlib
It is expected that Russia and China – allies of the Syrian regime – veto the decision to extend the entry of aid from the Bab al-Hawa crossing, through which international relief trucks and goods flow to the residents of the Syrian opposition-controlled areas in Idlib and Aleppo govern orates.
Where is the Bab al-Hawa crossing?
Bab al-Hawa crossing is located in northwestern Syria within the Idlib governorate, about 33 km from Idlib city, and is opposite on the Turkish side the “Jilva Gozo” crossing of the Turkish state of Hatay.
The crossing is the main land transport route between Europe, Syria, Jordan and the Arab Gulf states.
Who are the forces controlling the crossing?
After repeated attempts, the Syrian opposition factions, then called the “Free Syrian Army”, succeeded in controlling the Bab al-Hawa crossing and seizing it from the Syrian regime forces on July 19, 2012, as part of one of the battles that erupted in northwestern Syria, following the transformation of the Syrian revolution from Civil movement to armed.
Several military forces succeeded in crossing the crossing due to its strategic importance from the military and economic perspectives. The most prominent of these forces are: the Syria Revolutionaries Front, the Islamic Ahrar al-Sham Movement, and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.
The crossing is currently under civil administration affiliated with the Syrian Salvation Government in Idlib, and is described as the political front of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the largest military force in Idlib governorate.
Why is the crossing considered the only lifeline for more than 3 million Syrians?
With the exacerbation of the humanitarian crisis in Syria and the emergence of the issue of displaced persons to the camps, the Security Council approved in 2014 to allow the passage of UN humanitarian aid from 4 land crossings in Syria, namely Bab al-Salama, Bab al-Hawa (with Turkey), al-Yarubiyah with Iraq, and Ramtha with Jordan.
In early 2020, the Security Council voted in favor of a resolution allowing the passage of UN aid through Turkish territory through the Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salama crossings, which caused the closure of two crossings in northeastern and southern Syria.
In July of last year, Russia vetoed the passage of humanitarian aid from the Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salama crossings, restricting the entry of aid to a single crossing since that time, which is the Bab al-Hawa crossing.
Why is Russia trying to close the crossing?
Russia, an ally of the Syrian regime, argues that the aid should be under the supervision of the government of the Syrian regime in Damascus, and demands that the latter organize the transit of aid and relief from regime-controlled territories.
Moscow explains that the aid reaches what it describes as “terrorists” from the fighters of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham in Idlib, and claims that this supports their presence in the region.
Russia, through the Security Council and in the field, tried to support the Syrian regime, as its military aircraft had earlier attacked civilian commercial centers near the Bab al-Hawa crossing, and it works hard from time to time to push civilians out of opposition-controlled areas in Idlib with crossings that are announced unilaterally in coordination with the regime Syrian.
What are the consequences of closing the crossing?
The attention of those working in the relief and humanitarian affairs in Syria is turning to the meeting of the Security Council amid a state of anticipation surrounded by anxiety and fear over Russia’s success in closing the crossing and not renewing the aid transit mechanism through it to more than 3 million Syrians.
The director of the “Syria Response Coordinators” team, Muhammad Hallaj, refers to the consequences of closing the Bab al-Hawa crossing on civilians – according to a statement obtained by Al Jazeera Net – with a complete collapse of the economic and humanitarian aspects.
According to the statement issued yesterday, Thursday, 2.3 million people will be deprived of clean water or potable water, and more than 1.8 million people will be deprived of food aid, in addition to the interruption of bread subsidies in hundreds of camps, and depriving more than a million people of access to bread on a daily basis. .
Among the results of the economic closure, the statement says that the most prominent of these are the high unemployment rates, the search for work during the first phase by 40% and the second phase by 20%, and the prices of basic materials and commodities in varying rates, most notably foodstuffs by 300%, and non-food items by 200%.
What are the alternative options after closing?
As for the alternative options if the crossing is closed in the face of aid, Hallaj summarizes them as follows:
- Returning humanitarian organizations operating in the region to before UN Resolution 2165 by operating outside the mandate mechanism.
- Transfer of funding for United Nations agencies to international non-governmental organizations, which distribute the support provided to local bodies of civil society organizations and relief associations.
- Any member state of the UN Security Council can call an extraordinary meeting of the UN General Assembly, and vote on the international resolution to introduce humanitarian aid across borders, outside the scope of the Security Council, thus ensuring that the veto is not used.
- Establishing a humanitarian funding fund for Syria instead of the United Nations humanitarian funding fund, and establishing major coordination blocs distributed over the areas of Syria outside the control of the Syrian regime.