Foreign aid essential to avert bigger disaster in Syria, US official says
LONDON: Senior US State Department officials have backed calls for an extension of a UN measure allowing cross-border aid to Syria, saying it is “essential to avert a more serious humanitarian catastrophe.”
At a press briefing attended by Arab News on Friday, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Joey Hood presented the U.S. perspective on humanitarian and political developments on the ground in Syria. He also spoke of the continued importance of confronting the remnants of Daesh both militarily and ideologically.
“The United States supports all forms of assistance to the Syrian people, including cross-cutting assistance from Damascus,” Hood said.
Cross-cutting assistance is so named to reflect the fact that it involves the delivery of aid to the front lines of the conflict, from government-controlled territory to rebel-controlled territory.
“The truth is that cross-cutting assistance alone cannot meet the current needs in Syria,” Hood said. “Cross-border assistance is essential to avert a more serious humanitarian disaster there. “
For this reason, Hood said, the United States fully supports efforts to renew a UN Security Council-approved cross-border aid operation in Syria for another year.
The future of this lifeline in Syria was questioned last week, when Russian President Vladimir Putin, who holds the veto right in the Security Council, questioned the importance of the operation. cross-border aid, arguing that aid can be channeled to northern Syria from the capital Damascus. Russia has been a longtime ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad and has supported his government militarily and politically throughout the war.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Friday that “a refusal to extend the council’s authorization would have devastating consequences.”
During the briefing, Hood also said that the United States supports a nationwide ceasefire to ensure the safe delivery of aid and to “alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people.”
He added that the United States is committed to maintaining a “limited military presence in the northeast (of Syria) for the sole purpose of defeating the Islamic State (Daesh), in partnership with the Syrian Democratic Forces, and to stabilize the areas liberated by this group.
“Stability in Syria and the wider region can only be achieved through a political process that represents the will of all Syrians,” Hood said. “We are committed to working with our allies, partners and the United Nations to ensure that a lasting political solution remains within reach. “
He added: “The international community must renew its common goal of ensuring the protection, dignity and human rights of the Syrian people. There can be no lasting end to the conflict without progress in this area.
Patrick Worman, acting director of the Office of the World Coalition to Defeat ISIS, warned that despite Daesh’s territorial defeat, he “remains a determined enemy. There is still a lot of work to be done in Iraq and Syria.
He said that Joe Biden’s administration was committed to ending the fight against Daesh and that this extended to the fight against their growing influence in other countries, especially in West Africa and the Sahel, where the groups affiliated with Daesh have strengthened.
The United States, he said, would continue to support Iraq in its counterinsurgency operation against Daesh, and that community outreach work would be needed to counter the “depraved ideology” of the United States. group.
“In addition to security, we also need to address the remaining gaps in humanitarian stabilization and early recovery to help victims of ISIS atrocities and others affected by the conflict to recover, and thereby minimize the capacity recruitment and resurgence of ISIS, ”Worman said.
“As part of this civilian effort, ensuring that ISIS operatives are held accountable for their crimes and promoting community reconciliation will be key to countering ISIS’s messages and combating the depraved ideology of ISIS. ‘Islamic State.