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05/01/2020 Syria (International Christian Concern) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has retracted a portion of an appeal before the United Nations which asked that aid be delivered to Syria through the Yaroubia (Iraq) border crossing. The move is seen as an appeasement to Russia and China, as it effectively makes the northeast dependent upon Damascus’ approval for UN aid.

A Human Rights Watch report in response highlighted that the Yaroubia crossing is absolutely necessary for humanitarian aid, as (including Yaroubia) there were only four crossings authorized in 2014 by the UN Security Council to receive cross-border aid. Under threat of a Russian veto in January 2020, the Yaroubia crossing was no longer authorized on the basis that supplies should be provided from Damascus.

This situation is more than political maneuvering. It is significantly impactful to a corner of Syria which has become known for its diversity and relative stability (compared to other parts of Syria). It is an area that has gained a level of autonomy, much to the chagrin of the Syrian regime. Politics aside, the lives at risk are those very groups who have suffered great persecution. In particular, the Yaroubia crossing is located in an area that is traditionally home to Armenian and Assyrian Christians. Receiving aid through this crossing is important for restoring and rebuilding communities impacted by ISIS and civil war.

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