The United Nations Security Council has agreed to renew Resolution 2165 for another six months, authorising the continuation of aid into Syria. For many displaced Syrians suffering from harsh winter conditions, the decision is a welcome respite, but the future remains unclear.
Stuck between on-going bombardments and harsh winter conditions, the struggle for survival for many Syrians, especially in Idlib, continues.
For the many Syrians stuck in refugee camps, this struggle was due to become harder due to the expected expiry of the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSC) 2165. After failing to reach an agreement during earlier sessions, the UNSC agreed on Friday evening to renew the Resolution for another six months, allowing the UN mandate for the continued delivery of aid into Syria.
The Resolution, which was renewed through the abstentions of four of the five permanent UNSC members, was only agreed after the authorisation for delivering aid was restricted to Bab al-Salam and Bab al-Hawa Border Crossings with Turkey. The authorisations for the already-defunct Ramtha Border Crossing with Jordan and the Yaroubiyah Border Crossing into Iraq was dropped.
For aid workers and organisations in Idlib and Aleppo, the renewal of the mandate and the inclusion of the two aid points allowing access into Idlib is a welcome development. Already suffering from large-scale displacement due to the on-going military developments in the region, there were fears that the region would witness a veritable humanitarian catastrophe had the aid been suspended. The UN estimates that as many as four million people will benefit from the resumption of aid.
Some aid organisations, however, are less optimistic. They have noted that the removal of the authorisation for the Yaroubiyah Border Crossing with Iraq, in particular, will adversely impact the displaced population in northeast Syria which has grown since Turkey’s launch of its operations in the region.
Activists are also concerned that the six-month renewal, as opposed to one year, and the reduction of crossings mandated to allow aid, is a troubling development, with fears that the mandate may not be renewed in six months or the points of entry into Syria facing further restrictions.