U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday urged the U.N. Security Council to authorize more border crossings for the delivery of humanitarian aid into Syria, where an estimated 13.4 million people require assistance.“The Security Council takes up so many challenges that are complicated, this is not one of them,” Blinken told council members. “The lives of people in Syria depend on getting urgent help. We have to do everything in our power to create ways for that aid to get to them — to open pathways, not to close them.”The United States is president of the Security Council this month, and Blinken chaired the monthly discussion of the humanitarian situation in Syria, which entered its second decade of civil war this month.In July, the 15-nation council will have to decide whether to renew or close the last remaining crossing point from Turkey into Syria for the transfer of humanitarian supplies. The one thousand aid-filled trucks which cross monthly through Bab al-Hawa, provide a lifeline to four million people in northwest Syria, which is outside of government control.FILE – In this Jan. 29, 2020 file photo, Syrians flee the advance of government forces towards the Turkish border, in Idlib province, Syria.In the past 14 months, the United Nations has lost three of the four border crossings it used to bring humanitarian assistance into Syria from neighboring countries. Due to objections and obstruction from Russia and China on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad’s government at the Security Council, authorizations for those crossings were not renewed.Russia has already signaled that it is not interested in renewing the Bab al-Hawa crossing, instead supporting the Assad regime’s demand for all aid to be distributed from Damascus across conflicts lines. But the U.N .and its aid partners say deliveries that go across internal conflict lines have been insufficient and open the door to regime interference on where the aid goes.“The current approach is unjustified, ineffective, indefensible. It is directly resulting in the increased suffering of the Syrian people,” Blinken said. “So, let me propose a different approach, let’s reauthorize both border crossings that have been closed, and reauthorize the one border crossing that remains open. Let’s give ourselves more pathways, rather than fewer pathways, to deliver food and medicine to the Syrian people.”The United Nations has also appealed to keep the cross-border operation running. In the past year, it says that needs in Syria have grown 20% due conflict, a currency crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.On Tuesday, the United Nations and the European Union will co-host a pledging conference for Syria, seeking to raise over $10 billion dollars for humanitarian efforts.That includes at least $4.2 billion for assistance inside Syria and $5.8 billion to support refugees and host communities in the region. Last year, the international community pledged $5.5 billion to assist needy Syrians.The United States is the largest single contributor of humanitarian assistance in Syria. 

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