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Turkey Demands UN to Open Humanitarian Corridor in Tal Abyad

Turkey Demands UN to Open Humanitarian Corridor in Tal Abyad

Thursday, 19 December, 2019 - 07:00
People hold boxes of aid donated by the Turkish Red Crescent in Tal Abyad. Reuters file photo

Ankara has asked the UN Security Council to open a fifth humanitarian crossing point from Turkey through the Syrian town of Tal Abyad, amid Russian demands to close two of the four points.

Early this week, the Council’s ten non-permanent members, which serve two-year terms, called on Russia not to veto the renewing of a cross-border “mechanism” to deliver humanitarian aid across conflict lines to more than one million Syrians in mainly opposition-held areas.

The members also warned that the consequences of a non-renewal would be disastrous.

Turkey had presented a request to the Security Council to open a new humanitarian crossing point from Turkey through Tal Abyad, in the countryside of Raqqa province, bordering Turkey's southeastern Sanliurfa province.

Four border crossings are used by the UN to send aid to Syria. They are Bab al-Salam and Bab al-Hawa in Turkey, Al Yarubiyah in Iraq, and Al-Ramtha in Jordan.

Turkey’s request came while Russia circulated a draft resolution on Monday seeking to close the crossing points in Iraq and Jordan for six months.

Council members Belgium, Germany and Kuwait have drafted a resolution that includes the opening of Turkey's fifth crossing point at Tal Abyad. They have warned that the failure to renew the cross-border mechanism would be "disastrous."

However, Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters on Tuesday that Moscow’s “position is that we should reduce cross-border [crossings]; we should leave only those that are really needed to [reach] people who could not be reached otherwise."

In a related development, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said world powers had not yet offered any support for his planned “safe zone” in northern Syria, where he intends to resettle a million Syrian refugees.

Speaking before his departure to Kuala Lumpur, Erdogan said he had proposed to finance the safe zone from oil revenues in Syria. However, he had not received any answers to his suggestion.

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