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US Congressmen Support Push to Open Syrian Border Crossings
Children roam muddy tracks between tents in Ma’arat al-Nu’man, south of Syria’s Idlib city, on January 1. The area has been subjected to frequent bombardment despite a Turkish-Russian cease-fire agreement. (Faisl Alhamoud)

US Congressmen Support Push to Open Syrian Border Crossings

The heads of the foreign relations committees in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate have issued a letter in support of the Biden administration’s push to restore humanitarian assistance to Syrians living in opposition-held areas.

The letter sent on Monday to Secretary of State Antony Blinken was signed by US Sens. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, and Bob Menendez, D-N.J., ranking member and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; and US Reps. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., and Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The letter comes as the United Nations Security Council prepares to vote on UNSC Resolution 2533, which allows for the temporary delivery of humanitarian aid through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing in northwest Syria, home to the rebel-held stronghold of Idlib.

The congressmen call on Blinken to support the renewal of the resolution, and to expand the humanitarian aid deliveries to the Al-Salam and Yarubiyah crossings so that it gets to civilians living in opposition-held territory.

Russia, which supports the Assad regime in Syria’s decade-long civil war, was instrumental in convincing the UNSC to close three of the four border crossings.

“Restoring the full scope of cross-border aid operations is key to mitigating further deterioration of this humanitarian catastrophe, and helps push back against the Kremlin’s efforts to undermine the UNSC’s ability to uphold international peace and security,” the letter said.

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