David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, said, “While we are relieved that the Security Council has finally voted to renew the cross-border resolution for Syria, IRC finds it inexplicable on humanitarian grounds the reduction from 12 months to six months in the operation of the Bab al Hawa cross border operation from Turkey into Syria.

“Needs are at record levels across Syria and have increased by 20% over the last year in the northwest alone. Today there are more than 2 million people in the northwest reliant on assistance provided cross-border to survive. As needs continue to rise, so too does the need for predictable, sustained and effective humanitarian access. Year after year we respond to the harsh winter months, as displaced families and host communities are forced to survive freezing temperatures, flash floods, and the loss of seasonal incomes. The winter of 2023 is likely to be no different, and so renewing this lifeline so that it will expire at the height of next winter  risks Syrians’ access to life-saving support, such as shelter and food, just when they will need it most. 

“As the UN Secretary General has made clear, there is currently no viable alternative to cross-border assistance to meet the growing needs across Syria. Despite recent progress on cross-line assistance the same will be said in 6 months time, and so there really can be no justification for having cut the timeline short. After more than eleven years of failure for the Syrian people, Council Members should be guided by humanitarian imperatives rather than politics, and ensure Syrians in need can be reached through the most direct routes. The passing of Resolution 2642 today, demonstrates that in the eyes of the Council cross-border assistance is still absolutely essential. Come January next year this will inevitably still be the case.”