Today marks exactly one month until the UN Security Council must vote to renew a resolution that allows aid to be transferred across the northwestern border of Syria. Since 2014 this mechanism has been a lifeline to millions of people in Syria. Currently as many as 4.1 million people in the northwest of the country rely on it to meet their basic needs, such as access to food, shelter and healthcare.

Last year, the UN reached over 2.4 million people every month in the northwest through its cross-border response. A failure to renew will put access to food assistance for more than 1 million people at risk, as well as critical medical supplies and humanitarian assistance for many more. Due to the sheer scale of the UN's cross-border response, NGOs, like IRC, simply will not be able to scale up and cover the gaps.

Tanya Evans, the IRC’s Country Director in Syria, said:

"Across the country, Syrians are facing the looming threat of hunger. In the northwest, the area most reliant on the UN’s cross-border support, already more than 70% of the population do not have access to sufficient food. The conflict in Ukraine has further compounded this desperate situation with supplies into the country heavily reliant on food imports.

The humanitarian case for cross-border assistance is more obvious today than ever before, and with no current viable alternative, the United Nations Security Council now has an important responsibility to ensure it continues for another 12 months from July 10th."

In addition to devastating impacts on food security, should the resolution not be renewed, millions of Syrians risk losing access to vital health assistance. Supplies and funding from UN agencies enabled by the cross-border mechanism are a lifeline for thousands of Syrian health centers, providing over 4 million Syrians with essential vaccines, medicines and medical equipment.

The IRC calls on the UN Security Council to ensure aid reaches Syrians in a principled manner, wherever they are and based on needs alone, by reauthorizing the Cross-Border Resolution next month for at least another 12 months.


Note to editors

The IRC has been working in Syria since 2012, responding to needs in the northwest and northeast. The IRC promotes economic recovery with job training, apprenticeships and small business support. IRC teams support early childhood development and provide counselling and protection services for women and children, particularly for survivors of violence. We support health facilities and mobile health teams with lifesaving trauma services, and with primary, reproductive and mental-health services. Our COVID-19 response includes promoting awareness campaigns and training health workers in infection prevention and control. The IRC also supports Syrian refugees in Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon.