Humanitarian Aid Not Reaching Rebel-Held Syrian North

Aid Groups Struggling to Bring Aid Across Combat Zones

UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos is warning tonight that most of northern Syria, under the control of Western-backed rebels, is out of reach for humanitarian aid, since they have been unable to access the border crossings from Turkey.

The issue is the control of those borders. Syria’s government says it can’t authorize the UN to use those border crossings because the rebels control many of them, and they can’t guarantee their safety. One of those border crossings was hit with a major car bombing just last week.

At the same time, aid groups trying to take the other route, through regime-held Syria and across the various combat zones into the civilian areas of the rebel-held north are slow and dangerous, though the WHO has reportedly used this route to deliver vaccines into the area.

The option of crossing the border without official Assad government consent would require a UN Security Council resolution, though such a move would also be difficult, and likely to include efforts by Western nations to shoehorn other anti-regime measures into the resolution, securing a veto from Russia and China, which have opposed using the UN to impose regime change in Syria.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.