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A day after the UN Security Council extended its mandate to deliver aid to displaced Syrians in opposition-controlled regions, trucks crossed from Turkiye into the Idlib governate through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing on 10 January.
The UN mandate was extended for six months on Monday, as the aid will be transferred without the involvement of the Syrian government. Instead, the trucks will coordinate with the Turkish government and use the Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salam border crossing.
Due to this, millions of Syrians inside the government-controlled territory will be denied help from outside due to economic sanctions; the UN aid will be limited to only four million people in the Turkish-occupied provinces.
Despite the objection by Damascus, Russia agreed to the extension of the aid mandate based on reducing the mandate from one year to six months, a decision it considered “difficult to make.”
The representative of the Russian Federation at the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, argued that the resolution failed to tackle the unliteral sanctions by the US and its allies, which largely contributed to the dire economic crisis and prompted the need for humanitarian aid.
“The resolution fails to reflect the aspirations of the Syrian people who expect from the Security Council, in addition to effective humanitarian efforts, respect for Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” Nebenzya added.
However, Turkiye has a specific interest in the mandate, as it conforms with its appeal to motivate Syrians to stay in their home country and avoid a new wave of refugees. This situation contributed to the recent dialogue between Ankara and Damascus to find a compromise to end the war.
The defense ministers of Russia, Syria, and Turkiye discussed the refugee crisis and its repercussions for the region during a recent tripartite meeting in Moscow in December 2022.
Turkish Minister Akar expressed Turkiye’s inability to host more Syrian refugees and stressed the need to reestablish peace by deporting refugees in a “voluntary, safe and dignified way.”
However, US Department of State spokesman Ned Price, revealed Washington’s dissatisfaction with Turkiye’s rapprochement with the Syrian government.
“We do not support countries upgrading their relations or expressing support to rehabilitate the brutal dictator Bashar al-Assad. We urge states to carefully consider the Assad regime’s atrocious human rights record,” Price elaborated.
This was also reiterated regarding the UAE reconciliation with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and its attempt to play a role in the peace talks with regional countries.