Hundreds form human chain to protest against blocking of Syria aid

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Hundreds of humanitarian workers formed a human chain in northwest Syria Friday, urging the international community to keep open the only border crossing for aid into the opposition-held region.

“Humanitarian aid is a right, not a privilege,” one sign held up by aid workers read, while others stood in a pattern on the road, so that the words “Save lifeline” was visible from the air.

A UN authorization for aid to transit through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing from Turkey into Syria expires on July 10.

A human chain is formed calling for maintaining a UN resolution authorizing the passage of humanitarian aid into Idlib through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey on July 2, 2021. (AFP)
A human chain is formed calling for maintaining a UN resolution authorizing the passage of humanitarian aid into Idlib through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey on July 2, 2021. (AFP)

Aid organisations fear that Russia, a staunch ally of the Damascus regime, might block a United Nations Security Council vote to renew it for a year.

Wassim Bakir, from Syrian charity Banafsaj, said if cross border aid is blocked it would be a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

Men and women lined up along a key highway leading to Bab al-Hawa, through which international organisations ferry in vital aid to the Idlib region.

A human chain is formed calling for maintaining a UN resolution authorizing the passage of humanitarian aid into Idlib through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey on July 2, 2021. (AFP)
A human chain is formed calling for maintaining a UN resolution authorizing the passage of humanitarian aid into Idlib through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey on July 2, 2021. (AFP)

Some three million people live in the extremist-dominated region, more than half displaced by Syria’s decade-long conflict.

“Closing Bab al-Hawa… means cutting off medicines and food for millions of civilians,” another sign read.

For the past year, international organisations have been able to bring in medicine, food, blankets and Covid-19 vaccines through Bab al-Hawa without having to transit through Damascus.

Ireland and Norway, non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, have presented a draft resolution to keep the Bab al-Hawa crossing open for another year.

The resolution also proposes the reopening of a second crossing point, al-Yarubiyah on the Iraqi border, to allow supplies to reach Syria’s northeast.

AFP

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