Four Republican and Democratic lawmakers sent Thursday a letter to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken asking him to continue to exert diplomatic pressure in favor of continued humanitarian access to the Syrians dependent on life-saving assistance.
US Representatives Gregory Meeks and Michael McCaul, Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as US Senators Bob Menendez and Jim Risch, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee sent the letter, in which they expressed deep concern over the prolonged suffering of the Syrian people.
They reaffirmed support for the expansion of cross-border humanitarian access to Syria during the upcoming United Nations Security Council (UNSC) vote on the renewal of UNSC Resolution 2585.
They expressed their opposition and condemnation of efforts by the Russian government to hinder the delivery of badly needed aid to the Syrian people and to normalize and continue the numerous atrocities being committed against the Syrian people by the Assad regime, Russia, and Iran.
“Eleven years into Assad’s war on the Syrian people, more than 14 million Syrians require humanitarian aid, a nearly 10% increase from last year,” the letter read.
They warned that the COVID-19 pandemic and the Assad regime’s chronic economic mismanagement have only served to further exacerbate the existing food insecurity and lack of access to both water and medicine.
They further stressed that cross-border aid delivery is critical in providing lifesaving food and medical care, particularly to vulnerable communities in the northwest, as humanitarian needs continue to rise.
“Efforts by Russia and the Assad regime to route all aid through regime-controlled Damascus constitute a further reach for power and influence in Syria and the region.”
They pointed out that the cross-line mechanism has proven woefully inadequate in meeting the acute humanitarian needs of the Syrian people and can be cut off by the Assad regime at any time.
The UN Secretary-General explicitly stated in a recent report that the cross-line convoys, even if deployed regularly, cannot replicate the size and scope of the UN’s cross-border operation – which remains a lifesaving modality for millions of people in need in north-west Syria.
They expressed their deep appreciation for Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s March efforts in this area, including her recent remarks to the UNSC advocating on behalf of a continued UN cross-border operation and her visit to the crossing at Bab al-Hawa.