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Syria blasts exploitation of aid delivery mechanism as ‘political, humanitarian blackmail’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file picture, a Syrian refugee family from Aleppo stays under a shelter during a rainy day in Uskudar, Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by AFP)

Syria’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations has denounced attempts by some members of the UN Security Council to extend a so-called cross-border mechanism for aid deliveries to the war-torn Arab country as “a political and humanitarian blackmail,” stressing the mechanism violates Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The mission, in a statement, denounced latest remarks by US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield about humanitarian situation in Syria, stating they are part of an open propaganda campaign by Washington and its Western allies to renew the mandate of the so-called Cross-Border Assistance Mechanism.

“Western countries claim they would be able to meet Syrians’ needs under this mechanism. At the same time, they threaten to cut off funding the United Nations humanitarian activities in Syria if the mechanism is not extended,” it said.

“The US ambassador’s allegation that she is concerned about the humanitarian situation in Syria, in addition to the claim that her country provides humanitarian aid to Syrian people, represents an outrageous political hypocrisy, and is in stark contrast to inhumane sanctions imposed by Washington on the Syrian nation. The sanctions represent an economic terrorism and are a collective punishment of Syrian people,” it said.

It added that such measures "negatively limit the Syrian government’s ability to address ordinary Syrians’ needs, and to offer basic services to them as cited by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in a recent joint report.”

The statement went on to say that the US diplomat aims to divert the world public opinion from the fact that the aid delivery mechanism for Syria violates the Arab country’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and, at the same time, lacks transparency in terms of supervision and verification because it is not possible to identify partners involved in the process of delivering aid and it cannot be guaranteed that a great proportion of the aid deliveries would not fall into the hands of terrorists.

“Washington’s insistence on undermining Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, either through the illegal entry of its delegations or extension of the mandate of the so-called cross-border assistance mechanism, are in flagrant breach of the international law, and represent a political and humanitarian blackmail,” it noted.

The mission cast doubt on US claim of supporting humanitarian missions in Syria, saying the US ambassador should have declared an end to the occupation of Syrian territories by her country’s military forces, and worked to stop the looting of Syria’s crude oil, agricultural crops and cultural heritage rather than to put forward proposals for ending the crisis in the Arab country, which is exacerbated by Washington’s policies.

The mission expressed regret that “Western countries claim to be eager to assist Syrians through such a mechanism, but at the same time they threaten to stop funding the United Nations humanitarian activities in Syria if the mechanism is not extended,” pledging Damascus commitment to cooperation with national and international partners to improve the humanitarian situation of Syrians across the country.

Last week, the US ambassador to the United Nations announced nearly $240 million in humanitarian funding to support the people of Syria, Syrian refugees and countries hosting them.

Thomas-Greenfield also called for access through crossings to allow the delivery of aid.

She made the announcement during a visit to the Bab al-Hawa border crossing between Turkey and Syria.

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