US Deputy Ambassador to UN repeats call to reopen Syria's Yaroubiya border crossing

"This includes northeast Syria, where availability of essential goods including medical supplies has decreased markedly since the closure of Yaroubiyah."
US Ambassador Richard Mills (Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)
US Ambassador Richard Mills (Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The US Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Mills, has repeated his earlier call to reopen northeast Syria's Yaroubiya border crossing with Iraq.

"Given the vast needs, our collective efforts must be focused on expanding aid access so it can reach all Syrians. This includes northeast Syria, where availability of essential goods including medical supplies has decreased markedly since the closure of Yaroubiya," Mills told a UN Security Council Briefing on the Political and Humanitarian Situation in Syria on Thursday.

"The United Nations is facilitating the robust, transparent delivery of humanitarian aid into northwest Syria through its cross-border mechanism, which follows one of the most comprehensive risk management frameworks globally," he said.

"It is essential that the Security Council renew and expand the cross-border mechanism authorized in Resolution 2585 this July." 

Mills previously told the Security Council that Syria's Yaroubiya border crossing needs to be reopened on Feb. 25. 

Read More: US Ambassador says al-Yaroubiya crossing needs to be reopened

The border crossing in northeast Syria was closed in January 2020 after Russia and China vetoed UN Security Council resolutions to keep it open. Following that closure, only limited aid went to northeast Syria, exacerbating the dire humanitarian situation there.

Mills also said that the US continues "to support efforts to facilitate cross-line aid, including by Turkey, but cross-line aid deliveries simply cannot match the volume of humanitarian assistance that is delivered cross-border." 

"Moreover, cross-line aid remains a risky endeavor, as the regime and its backers continue to attack civilians and civilian infrastructure in northwest Syria and other parts of the country," he said. "We recommend any remaining skeptics of the cross-border mechanism visit Bab al-Hawa to witness for themselves the incredible volume of life-saving work made possible through cross-border assistance."

The US official blamed the Syrian government for the humanitarian crisis in the war-torn, which is "made tragically worse by that regime's continued interference with the international humanitarian response."

This "interference includes the rampant corruption of regime officials, endemic schemes to siphon aid, the regime's practice of favoring preferred communities and connected procurement companies, and its manipulation of exchange rates."

Moreover, he said he is "deeply troubled by reports that Russia has recruited Syrians to fight on its behalf in Ukraine."

"This would demonstrate Russia's true disdain for the Syrian people," he said. "Russia has hundreds of thousands of troops but would instead send Syrians to die in President Putin's war of choice."

He also responded to Russian statements that the US has caused civilian casualties in Syria during the war against ISIS.

"Russia's allegations of U.S.-caused civilian casualties through our counterterrorism efforts are brazenly hypocritical, given Russia's well-documented history of deliberately attacking Syrian civilians with utter disregard for human life," he said. 

"Russia itself has also supported regime attacks on critical infrastructure, including the Arshani water station in January," he added. 

"I think Russia's criticism is just a means to deflect attention from its own crimes in Syria and elsewhere."