Syria extends UN humanitarian aid deliveries via two Turkish crossings until Nov. 13

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Syria has extended its permission for the United Nations to deliver humanitarian aid via two Turkish border crossings until November 13, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokesperson said on Tuesday.

“We greatly welcome the extension of permission by the Government of Syria to utilize the Bab al-Salam and Al Ra’ee border crossings until November 13th,” Eri Kaneko said.

After an earthquake killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey and Syria in February, Syria allowed the United Nations to use those two border crossings from Turkey to dispatch aid. The approval was due to expire on August 13.

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The United Nations had also been using the Bab al-Hawa crossing from Turkey to deliver aid to millions in northwest Syria since 2014 with authorization from the UN Security Council. But that expired in mid-July after the 15-member body could not reach an agreement to extend it.

Just days later the Syrian government said the United Nations could continue using the Bab al-Hawa crossing for another six months, but those aid deliveries are yet to resume because the UN has concerns with “two unacceptable conditions.”

The same conditions have not been imposed on the UN use of the Bab al-Salam and Al Ra’ee border crossings.

Syrians who fled President Bashar al-Assad’s rule fear he may soon be able to choke off badly needed aid as Damascus acts to establish sway over UN assistance into the opposition-held northwest, the last major bastion of the Syrian opposition.

A violent crackdown by Assad on peaceful pro-democracy protesters in 2011 led to a civil war, with Moscow backing Assad and Washington supporting the opposition. Millions of people fled Syria with millions more internally displaced. Fighting has since abated with Assad back in control of most of Syria.

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