Syria: Cross-border aid convoy arrives in northern Syria

20 March, 2014
20 March 2014, Nusaybin, Turkey: For the first time in three years, a humanitarian convoy has crossed from Turkey into northern Syria. Credit: UNHCR
20 March 2014, Nusaybin, Turkey: For the first time in three years, a humanitarian convoy has crossed from Turkey into northern Syria. Credit: UNHCR

The first eight trucks of a UN humanitarian convoy have arrived in northern Syria, having crossed from Turkey. The trucks – carrying food, blankets, mattresses, family kits, hygiene kits, medicines and medical supplies – are being unloaded at UN warehouses in Qamishli, in Syria’s far north-east.

Four UN agencies are taking part in the convoy with the support of OCHA: the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Refugee Agency, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Health Organization (WHO), along with the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The convoy demonstrates the impact of UN Security Council Resolution 2139. Passed late February, the resolution articulated the requirement for both cross-border and cross-line access to the millions of Syrian civilians whose lives, homes and communities have been shattered by this long and terrible conflict.

“A small step [that] gives us hope”

Nigel Fisher, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator, speaking on behalf of the humanitarian agencies, expressed his appreciation for the approvals given by Turkey and Syria.

"The opportunity to start the dispatch of a convoy of 79 trucks through the Nusaybin/Qamishli border is a sign of progress,” Mr Fisher said.

“We are encouraged by this development, which, although a small step, gives us hope that additional border crossing points will be opened up. [This will] enable us to provide much more humanitarian assistance to the countless Syrians who are in desperate need of support for their very survival.”

More Syrians suffer with every day that passes

“It is imperative that humanitarian assistance be provided on a massive scale to Syrian civilians in need, many of whom are children, traumatised by loss and the destruction of the very fabric of their lives,” continued Mr. Fisher.

“More border crossings have to be opened so that United Nations agencies and partners can reach Syrians purely on the basis of their humanitarian needs.”

He called on all parties to the conflict to allow the UN and its humanitarian partners – both national and international – to accelerate the delivery of aid across international borders and across internal conflict lines.

“With each day that passes, more Syrian civilians suffer and die needlessly," he said.

At the beginning of February, a UN and Syrian Arab Red Crescent Convoy reached the Old City of Homs, bringing relief to families cut off from outside support for 600 days.

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