UN chief: Syrians face dire winter if aid from Turkey is cut

Dec 12, 2022, 1:52 AM | Updated: 4:04 pm
Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres delivers remarks during the opening ceremo...

Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres delivers remarks during the opening ceremony of COP15, the U.N. Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. chief warned in a new report that the already dire humanitarian situation in Syria is worsening and if aid deliveries from Turkey to the rebel-held northwest aren’t renewed next month millions of Syrians may not survive the winter.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in the report to the U.N. Security Council obtained Monday by The Associated Press that cross-border aid to the northwest remains “an indispensable part” of humanitarian operations to reach all people in need.

Deliveries across conflict lines within the country, which Syria’s close ally Russia has pressed for, have increased but Guterres said they cannot substitute for “the size or scope of the massive cross-border United Nations operation.”

Russia has also pushed for early recovery projects in Syria and Guterres said at least 374 have taken place throughout the country since January, directly benefitting over 665,000 people, but he said “further expansion” is needed.

The council asked for a report from the secretary-general on Syria’s humanitarian needs in the July resolution that extended the delivery of food, medicine and other desperately need aid through the Bab al-Hawa crossing from Turkey to northwest Idlib for six months until Jan. 10.

Russia has sought to reduce cross-border aid, with the aim of eliminating it.

In July 2020, China and Russia vetoed a U.N. resolution that would have maintained two border crossing points from Turkey for humanitarian aid to northwest Idlib. Days later, the delivery of aid was reduced to just the Bab al-Hawa crossing for a year as they demanded.

In July 2021, Russia pressed for a further reduction, finally agreeing to a six-month extension with another six-months contingent on a report from the secretary-general on progress in cross-line deliveries. But in July this year, Russia insisted on U.N. authorization for just six months.

Strongly appealing for Bab al-Hawa to remain open for U.N. assistance, Guterres warned that “a halt to cross-border deliveries in the midst of winter months would risk leaving millions of Syrians without the aid needed to endure harsh weather conditions.”

He said cross-border aid “remains a lifeline for millions of people” and Security Council renewal of the resolution authorizing continued deliveries is not only “critical” but “a moral and humanitarian imperative.”

According to his report, 7.5 million people live in areas not under Syrian government control, mainly across the north with a small number in Rukban in the southeast, and 6.8 million of them need humanitarian assistance due to hostilities and widespread displacement.

More broadly, Guterres said, “after 11 years of conflict, the country still has the largest number of internally displaced people in the world, drives one of the world’s largest refugee crises, and the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate.” The already dire situation is compounded by cholera spreading across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic, a worsening economy and climate and other human-caused shocks, he said.

“As a result of these challenges, in 2023, 15.3 million people, out of a total population of 22.1 million, are estimated to require humanitarian assistance, compared to 14.6 million people in 2022,” the secretary-general said. “This is the highest level of people in need since the start of the conflict” in 2011.

Data on humanitarian needs collected by the U.N. and its partners from over 34,000 households in July and August found that 85% of households were completely unable or insufficiently able to meet their basic needs, an increase from 75% in 2021, according to the report.

The report also cited a 48% increase in severe acute malnutrition among children aged 6 months to 5 years in 2022 compared to 2021. At least 25% of children under the age of five in some districts are stunted and at risk of irreversible damage to their physical and cognitive development as well as “repeated infection, developmental delay, disabilities and death,” it said.

Secretary-General Guterres said winter weather is expected to worsen the situation for millions of Syrians, and among the most vulnerable are those in the northwest who rely on cross-border aid deliveries and face declining humanitarian conditions due to ongoing hostilities and “a deepening economic crisis.”

“Today, in the northwest, 4.1 million people, 80% of them women and children, out of a population of 4.6 million, are estimated to need humanitarian assistance to meet their most basic needs,” he said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Bryan Kohberger, who is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in Nov. 2022, a...
Associated Press

News groups ask Idaho Supreme Court to reject University slayer gag order

Thirty news organizations have asked the Idaho Supreme Court to overturn a gag order in a case against a man accused of stabbing four students to death.
18 hours ago
Nathan Chasing Horse stands in court. Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in North Las Vegas, Nev. Nathan Chasing...
Associated Press

‘Dances With Wolves’ actor charged in 2018 rape in PNW

Canadian police confirmed Tuesday they are pursuing a criminal case against a former "Dances With Wolves" actor who was arrested last week and charged in Nevada with sexually abusing and trafficking Indigenous women and girls.
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Court upholds Wash. residency requirement for pot industry

SEATTLE (AP) — A U.S. judge has upheld Washington’s residency requirement for involvement in the state’s legal cannabis industry — a decision at odds with a federal appeals court ruling concerning a similar requirement in Maine. A man who co-owns a chain of Washington cannabis stores called Zips, Scott Atkinson, wanted to transfer part of […]
18 hours ago
FILE - A sign at Twitter headquarters is shown in San Francisco, Dec. 8, 2022. Many Twitter users f...
Associated Press

Twitter scrambles to fix meltdown as many unable to tweet

Many Twitter users found themselves unable to tweet, follow accounts or access their direct messages on Wednesday as the Elon Musk-owned platform experienced a slew of widespread technical problems. “Twitter may not be working as expected for some of you. Sorry for the trouble. We’re aware and working to get this fixed,” the company tweeted […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

California health program successfully cut hospital visits

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A five-year experiment aimed at improving care for some of California’s most at-risk Medicaid patients — including the homeless and those with severe drug addictions — resulted in fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits that saved taxpayers an estimated $383 per patient per year, according to a review released Wednesday. The […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

California health program successfully cut hospital visits

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A five-year experiment aimed at improving care for some of California’s most at-risk Medicaid patients — including the homeless and those with severe drug addictions — resulted in fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits that saved taxpayers an estimated $383 per patient per year, according to a review released Wednesday. The […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
UN chief: Syrians face dire winter if aid from Turkey is cut