UN official reiterates importance of cross-border humanitarian aid delivery to Syrian people

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UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) — A United Nations relief official on Thursday reiterated the critical importance of cross-border humanitarian aid delivery to the Syrian people.

“Without the cross-border operation, we would see an immediate end of aid supporting millions of civilians,” Ursula Mueller, assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, told the Security Council monthly briefing on the humanitarian situation in Syria.

“That would cause a rapid increase in hunger and disease, resulting in death, suffering and further displacement – including across-borders – for a vulnerable population who have already suffered unspeakable tragedy as a result of almost nine years of conflict,” she added.

Mueller said that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres counted on “Security Council members to ensure the United Nations is authorized to meet the needs of all who need humanitarian assistance.”

Speaking of the situation in northwest Syria, Mueller said that “the situation remains alarming.”

“Syrian government forces and their allies continue to shell and conduct airstrikes on areas under the control of non-state armed groups, including listed terrorist entities, in Idlib and Aleppo. Non-state armed groups, for their part, have escalated attacks against areas controlled by government forces in southern Idlib and Aleppo,” said the UN relief chief.

“Civilians on both sides of the frontline suffer the consequences,” said Mueller, underscoring the need for a permanent ceasefire there, as well as throughout Syria.

Across northwest Syria, hostilities have displaced up to 60,000 people in Idlib in recent weeks, she said. “At the same time, the price of fuel – required for heating – remains above the national average, due to a supply shortage and inflation linked to the depreciation of the Syrian pound on the informal market.”

Talking about the situation in northeast Syria, Mueller said that the humanitarian situation “remains serious,” even as hostilities have decreased in recent weeks.

“Much more support is required to sustain humanitarian operations in Syria and neighboring countries,” said the UN relief chief.

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