The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) Foreign Relations Department Co-Chair Ebdulkerîm Omer spoke to ANHA about the ongoing discussions regarding the reopening of the Al Ya’rubiyah border crossing point between Syria and Iraq which has been closed since 2020.
The Al Ya’rubiyah (Til Kocer) border crossing point was closed due to the vetoes of UN Security Council membrs Russia and China at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting in 2020. More than one million internally displaced refugees in North and East Syria have since been deprived of urgent humanitarian aid since then.
AANES’s Ebdulkerîm Omer stated that if Russia vetoes it again, the international community will be responsible to find an urgent alternative passage for humanitarian aid to the region.
He asserted that it is an inappropriate political decision to close the border crossing point. “They want to make the [Assad] regime the interlocutor, so they want humanitarian aid to come from Damascus, under the regime’s control,” he said.
Omer points out that about that 5 million people live in northeastern Syria and tens of thousands of people have left their lands and settled in different areas of the country due to the ongoing clashes in the region.
He underlined that these people who fled from war are now being deprived of humanitarian aid due to the closing of the border point. “After the Turkish state’s attacks on Afrin and Serekaniye in 2018, many large refugee camps have been opened in the region. Therefore, the closure of the border has a serious and negative impact on the region.”
The reason Ömer says, is that since aid sent by international organisations was delivered directly to the Damascus government, but not to the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. “No aid has reached our region because of political reasons,” he said.
He also noted that support is needed for the construction of areas that used to be controlled by the Islamic State (ISIS) before. “The international community should show the necessary solidarity in this regard.”
Since 2014 humanitarian aid has been delivered to Syria through just four border points in accordance with international resolutions. Two of these points are on the border with Turkey, one with Jordan and the other, Al-Ya’rubiyah, with Iraq.
With the renewal of the regulations in 2020, delivery of aid is currently only possible through the two border points between Turkey and Syria. The border crossing at Al-Ya’rubiyah and the one between Syria and Jordan are still closed.