The United Nations Security Council's decision to extend the Bab al-Hawa border crossing into Syria is "an important outcome," the European Union officials said on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the UNSC agreed to extend its mandate for badly needed cross-border aid deliveries from Turkey’s Cilvegözü border crossing to Bab al-Hawa in northwestern Syria for six months, until January 10, 2023, with a further extension of an additional six months requiring a separate resolution.
"This is an important outcome for the 4.1 million Syrian men, women and children, including 2.8 million internally displaced, in north-west Syria who depend on the vital humanitarian assistance delivered through this mechanism to help them survive.
"At the same time, we urge the members of the UNSC to uphold their commitment to renew the resolution for six months in December to ensure cross-border assistance is sustained amid winter," EU Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell and Janez Lenarcic, the European commissioner for crisis management, said in a joint statement.
There is "no adequate alternative to cross-border assistance" to meet the humanitarian needs in Syria, EU officials said, adding that "the extension of the use of Bab al-Hawa crossing point is a humanitarian imperative to preserve the functioning of a critical humanitarian lifeline for millions of Syrians."
"The European Union will continue to advocate for all parties to depoliticize and allow unimpeded and continued delivery of humanitarian aid to all those in need," it added.
The Bab Al-Hawa crossing near Turkey's border has been the only entry point for U.N. aid into Syria for the past two years. The mechanism expired on Sunday and was extended earlier in the day.
Nearly 307,000 civilians have been killed in Syria between 2011 and 2021, according to a U.N. Human Rights Office report released in June.