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ASG Msuya echoes call for renewal of cross-border response into Syria

29 Jul 2022

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ASG Msuya with Deputy Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syrian Crisis, Mark Cutts at the UN Trans-shipment Hub in Hatay, Türkiye. Credit: OCHA/Madevi Sun Suon

Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Relief Coordinator Joyce Msuya echoed the call for the renewal of the cross-border response into Syria.

As she concluded her five-day mission to Türkiye today,  Ms. Msuya said: “I hear the calls for both life-saving and livelihood assistance to empower women and families…We will do everything in our power to push forward on this front, but we will need strong donor support.”

During her mission Ms. Msuya visited Gaziantep and Hatay, where she met with displaced Syrian women as well as humanitarian partners, UN staff, donors and Turkish Government authorities involved in the UN cross-border aid response.

“I applaud the Government of Türkiye in supporting humanitarians to do their job, ensuring that aid reaches mothers, children and vulnerable people in Syria,” she said.

Ms. Msuya also extended her appreciation to Türkiye as the world’s largest refugee-hosting country.

Across the border, 4.1 million people in north-west Syria rely on UN aid to meet their basic needs, the majority of whom are women and children. Each month, the UN delivers food and other humanitarian aid from Türkiye, reaching 2.4 million people in Syria.

Ms. Msuya observed the thorough checking of relief items at the Hub. Credit: OCHA/Madevi Sun Suon

The current cross-border authorization will expire in six months — at the peak of winter — if the Security Council does not grant an additional extension. Efforts are under way to increase the delivery of cross-line aid from Syria, but at present such deliveries cannot replace the scope and scale of the cross-border operation.

During her visit to the UN Trans-shipment Hub, Ms. Msuya observed first-hand the rigorous monitoring process involved in the cross-border response. Vaccines, reproductive health kits, blankets and other relief items are thoroughly checked before crossing the borders in trucks.

“This mechanism is making a difference,” said Ms. Msuya. “Partners are relieved that this life-saving assistance can continue for another six months. They noted the logistical difficulties of managing assistance over such a short period and emphasized the rising needs of displaced families,” she added. 

During her meeting with affected women, Ms. Msuya heard from seven women, including a camp manager, a special education teacher and a humanitarian journalist based in Idleb. Three of the women are among the 3.7 million refugees living in Türkiye.

“I was honoured to meet with displaced and refugee women from Syria, each of whom is working to improve the living conditions for their community. Behind the numbers are real people with their own stories,” said Ms. Msuya.

Stakeholders stressed the need to ramp up investment in early recovery and livelihood projects.

At the end of her mission, Ms. Msuya visited the newly established OCHA office in Istanbul.