Turkey, World, Americas

'Turkey's Cilvegozu crossing represents best for aid to Syria'

American Ambassador to UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield is visiting Turkey

Behlul Cetinkaya   | 03.06.2021
'Turkey's Cilvegozu crossing represents best for aid to Syria'

HATAY, Turkey

The US ambassador to the UN said Thursday that Turkey's Cilvegozu border gate is the "best" choice for the international community on humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.

Speaking to reporters following her visit to the World Food Programme (WFP) distribution center in the Reyhanli district of Turkey's southern Hatay province, Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that more than 13 million Syrians are still in need of humanitarian assistance due to the conflicts.

"I am proud to announce that the US is providing $200 million additional humanitarian funding to people of Syria," she said.

Saying that four in five people in northwestern Syria need humanitarian assistance, she stressed that aid is crucial for millions of civilians in Idlib.

Some members of the UN Security Council succeeded in "shamefully" closing crossings to Syria, Thomas-Greenfield stressed, saying the Cilvegozu border gate is the only one that remains open.

"Right now, this crossing represents the best for the international community," she noted, adding that if this one closes, it will cause many cruelties.

Thomas-Greenfield also highlighted that they want the UN to bring humanitarian aid, COVID-19 vaccine, and medical aid to end the suffering that Syrian people face.

"I also want to take the opportunity to thank the Turkish government for hosting refugees but also for facilitating and supporting this operation," she added.

Thomas-Greenfield said she will be briefing the members of the UN Security Council on what she has seen here and will ask her colleagues to support the continuation of this humanitarian aid operation and to reopen two other border crossings that were closed.

"This is what people of Syria need, this is their life and their future," she added.

In response to a question, Thomas-Greenfield said they are willing to work with Russians on the continuation of humanitarian assistance to the needy Syrian people.

Thomas-Greenfield also stressed the importance of cross-border aid when she met with the UN deputy humanitarian coordinator.

"Today in Turkey, I discussed the importance of cross-border aid with UN Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis @MarkCutts. As he rightly noted, we need to be scaling up our humanitarian efforts during the pandemic, not scaling down," Thomas-Greenfield said on Twitter.

Thomas-Greenfield is on a visit to Turkey until Friday. She is expected to meet refugees and hold meetings with NGO partners and UN humanitarian agencies working to assist Syrians.

Syria has been ravaged by a civil war since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protesters.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions more displaced.

Idlib falls within a de-escalation zone forged under an agreement between Turkey and Russia. The area has been the subject of multiple cease-fire understandings, which have frequently been violated by the regime and its allies.

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