UN Security Council renews cross-border humanitarian aid into Syria

Press releases, 09.01.2023

On 9 January 2023, the United Nations Security Council unanimously extended the mandate for cross-border humanitarian aid in Syria until 10 July. Switzerland introduced the respective resolution in the Security Council as co-penholder of the Syria humanitarian file. The Council's decision allows humanitarian aid to reach a region in north-west Syria where over four million people are in need of support. Protecting the civilian population in conflicts is one of Switzerland's priorities for its two-year Council membership.

The cross-border resolution allows UN agencies to provide humanitarian aid in north-western Syria, where more than 4 million people depend on it. This figure includes 2.8 million internally displaced persons, around 80% of whom are women and children. Most live in camps or temporary shelters. Each month, around 800 lorries cross the Bab-al Hawa border from Turkey into Syria to deliver humanitarian goods. The cross-border humanitarian aid encompasses food, assistance regarding emergency shelters, education, the protection of the civilian population, and health, as well as equipment required to provide water and sanitation.

Together with Brazil, Switzerland took over the co-penholdership of the Security Council's Syria humanitarian file from Ireland and Norway on 1 January 2023. In this role Switzerland facilitates the decision-making of the Security Council on humanitarian issues related to Syria.

Extended for six months

With the Syria file, Switzerland has taken on a crucial Security Council dossier. Council members have long held divergent views on the issue of humanitarian aid on the ground. After the last attempt to extend the mandate in July 2022 failed due to a veto, a compromise was reached to extend the mechanism by six-months. The council once again extended unanimously the mandate for a six months period. The Council's cross-border resolution has enabled the delivery of humanitarian aid across the border into Syria since 2014. The Council has renewed it since it was first adopted.

Swiss engagement in Syria

The conflict in Syria has been fuelling one of the world's gravest humanitarian crises, with the civilian population bearing brunt of the suffering. As part of its international cooperation, Switzerland has been providing humanitarian aid to affected communities in Syria and its neighbouring countries since 2011. This work constitutes one of the largest humanitarian operations in Swiss history, with a total of over CHF 610 million having been made available since 2011. Switzerland provides emergency aid, enables access to vital services, and assists in the protection of civilians and their livelihoods. It also promotes compliance with and implementation of international law, in particular international humanitarian law and human rights, and supports the UN peace process in Geneva.

Further information:

Interview on Switzerland's engagement in Syria
Newsfeed: Switzerland's membership of the UN Security Council
Middle East (Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria), SDC

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