Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
Reyhanli, Hatay Province, Turkey
June 3, 2021
So today, I’m proud to announce the United States is providing nearly $240 million in additional humanitarian funding for the people of Syria and for the communities that host them.
After 10 years of conflict under the brutal Assad regime, the Syrian people are the worst off they have ever been. Right now, more than 13 million Syrian people are in dire need of assistance. That’s the population of Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington D.C. combined. And if everyone in those cities were desperate for food, water, medicine, and shelter, what would we do?
Behind me is the Bab al-Hawa cross-border transshipment center. Here, every month – you heard from WFP – an average of 1,000 UN trucks ushering in food, medical supplies, humanitarian aid to northwest Syria. Four in five people in northwest Syria need humanitarian assistance. For millions of civilians in Idlib, this is their lifeline. Over the last year and a half, some members of the Security Council succeeded in shamefully closing two other crossings into Syria – just like this one. Bab al-Hawa is literally all that’s left.
This isn’t a complicated issue. We want the UN to bring food to starving children and protection to homeless families. We want the UN to be able to deliver vaccines in the middle of a global pandemic. We want the suffering to stop. And that starts with the funding I’m announcing today, which comes from the U.S. Agency for International Development, and will fill the trucks that you see here today behind us with food and other lifesaving supplies.
I’ve now had the privilege of meeting the dedicated people working so hard to ensure that this aid is transported. But they can’t do their jobs if I and other members of the Security Council, don’t do our jobs and renew this border mandate. Right now, this crossing represents the best of the international community. If it’s closed, it will cause senseless cruelty.
And I also want to take the opportunity to thank the Turkish government. To thank the government for hosting refugees, but also for facilitating and supporting this operation. Without the government’s agreement and support, this could not be done.
America is choosing hope and humanity over cynicism and cruelty. And we call on the international community, and especially the Security Council, to do the same. When I get back to New York I will be briefing members of the Security Council on what I’ve seen here, and I will be appealing to my colleagues to support the continuation of this operation, and to reopen the two other border crossings that were closed. This is what the people of Syria need, this is their lives, and this is their future.
Thank you very much.