Urgent Action Needed to Ensure Unrestricted Cross-Border Humanitarian Aid in Syria

Syrian Forum USA
11 July 2023
Public Statement: Urgent Action Needed to Ensure Unrestricted Cross-Border
Humanitarian Aid in Syria

The Syrian Forum deeply regrets the United Nations Security Council’s failure to reauthorize
cross-border aid to Syria. We strongly condemn the recent Russian veto that obstructed the
adoption of a Security Council resolution aimed at facilitating the delivery of crucial
humanitarian assistance to areas devastated by more than 12 years of conflict and recent
earthquakes. This veto undermines the urgent need for humanitarian aid in Syria and
exacerbates the suffering of millions of vulnerable people.

Russia’s political maneuvering continues to hold the Security Council hostage, disregarding
the purely humanitarian nature of the crisis in Syria. Humanitarian aid should not be subject
to political games. Yet, the Russian Federation still prioritized politics over the lives of Syrians
who depend on aid for survival. At the same time, the Syrian Regime keeps its long-standing
pattern of using humanitarian aid as a pressure tactic against civilians in areas outside its
control. This manipulation of aid and hindering its delivery across the lines only adds to the
suffering of the Syrian people. It is evident that the Regime views humanitarian assistance as
a bargaining chip to regain international recognition rather than prioritizing the well-being and
survival of its own citizens. Despite the ongoing consent for the crossings at Bab al-Salemeh
and Al-Rai, it is crucial to acknowledge their limitations in effectively addressing the immense
humanitarian needs in northwest Syria. The assistance provided through the Bab al-Hawa
crossing by the United Nations has played a critical role in delivering substantial aid to the
affected population. However, it is a grave concern that the Syrian Regime retains the power
to arbitrarily withdraw its consent at any given time, potentially leaving millions without the
essential humanitarian support they urgently require.

Therefore, the Syrian Forum calls upon the international community to unite in depoliticizing
humanitarian aid. This requires the collective efforts of all nations to uphold the principles of
humanity and alleviate the suffering of innocent civilians affected by conflicts. Prominent legal
experts and jurists have affirmed that a Security Council mandate is not required to deliver aid
to conflict areas. These opinions were part of a comprehensive legal study sponsored by the
Syrian Forum and presented to several capitals and permanent delegations at the United
Nations. It is time to depoliticize and neutralize humanitarian aid, not just in Syria, but as a
universal principle enforced and respected by all UN member states, including the Security
Council’s permanent members. We strongly urge states to refer this matter to the International
Court of Justice (ICJ) for an advisory opinion on the necessity of a Security Council mandate
regarding humanitarian aid. It is crucial to establish a clear legal framework that ensures the
unhindered delivery of life-saving assistance to those in need, regardless of political

The Syrian Forum reiterates the urgent need for unrestricted cross-border humanitarian aid in
Syria. We implore the international community to take immediate action to address this
pressing issue and prevent further suffering. Together, let us work towards a future where
humanitarian aid is truly depoliticized, neutral, and effectively delivered to those most need it.


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