Antonio Guterres: UN chief Antonio Guterres says Syria border must stay open for aid | World News – Times of India

UNITED STATES: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated Tuesday {that a} closure of the final remaining border crossing into Syria would halt the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines throughout the northwest of the nation.
Currently, aid provides into Syria can enter at just one crossing — Bab al-Hawa on the Turkish border, the place about 1,000 vehicles cross month-to-month. In 2014, the UN Security Council allowed aid operations to cross at 4 factors however final 12 months — after objections from Russia and China — this was lowered to only Bab al-Hawa being allowed to stay open for an preliminary interval of 12 months.
Guterres stated it was very important to increase operations for one other 12 months.
“A failure to extend the UN’s mandate would end the UN’s Covid-19 vaccine distribution plans for millions of people in northwest Syria, and greatly diminish essential humanitarian operations,” Guterres informed the UN General Assembly as he described Syria’s grim circumstances after a decade of warfare.
“Food and other humanitarian aid deliveries by the United Nations would halt immediately. Less food will mean more suffering and more conflict.” Guterres’ remarks got here after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday urged the reopening of aid crossings blocked by Russia.
Russia, which helps Damascus, says the UN mandate on the border violates Syria’s sovereignty and it has indicated it needs to shut Bab al-Hawa when the present provision expires in July.
Guterres addressed the UN as donors met on-line in an occasion hosted in Brussels, which aimed to draw billions of {dollars} in new aid pledges for Syria.
“Nine in 10 Syrians now live in poverty, with 60 percent of the population at risk of going hungry this year — the highest number ever in the history of the Syrian conflict,” Guterres stated. He added that Syria has created the world’s largest refugee disaster and that cash raised in Brussels aimed to assist some some 12.3 folks in want throughout Syria in addition to 5.6 million Syrian refugees within the area.
As for the pandemic, it’s exhausting to know the extent Covid-19 has impacted Syria as a result of of weak testing.
Officially, greater than 2,000 folks have died. But “thousands more cases are going unconfirmed due to dangerously low testing rates,” Guterres stated. He stated two requests had been made for Syria to make use of the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility that goals to supply the vaccine to nations in want.
Plans are beneath solution to ship a primary tranche within the coming weeks, protecting round three per cent of the inhabitants.
“An initial one million doses are allocated to the Syrian Ministry of Health, including 100,000 for northeast Syria. And an initial 224,000 doses are allocated for northwest Syria,” Guterres stated.

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