McCaul, colleagues support Biden administration’s effort to ensure aid to Syrians

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) joined a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers to convey “grave concern” over the prolonged suffering of the Syrian people, as well as strong support for the Biden administration’s efforts to prevent the closure of cross-border humanitarian access to Syria.

Specifically, the lawmakers support efforts by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to prevent such a closure during the upcoming United Nations Security Council (UNSC) vote on the renewal of UNSC Resolution 2533, according to a June 7 letter they sent the secretary. 

“It is our hope that UNSCR 2533 will be renewed and expanded to include re-opening the Bab Al-Salam and Yarubiyah crossings,” wrote Rep. McCaul, ranking member of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, with committee chairman U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), and U.S. Sens. Jim Risch (R-ID) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), ranking member and chairman, respectively, of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The members noted that 10 years into the Syrian uprising, more than 13 million Syrians require humanitarian aid, roughly 12 million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes, and more than 12.4 million Syrians are experiencing food insecurity. “The COVID-19 pandemic and the Assad regime’s chronic economic mismanagement further exacerbate this humanitarian catastrophe,” Rep. McCaul and his colleagues wrote.

According to their letter, the UNSC in July 2014 first authorized four border crossing points for the delivery of aid into Syria in response to the Assad regime’s blocking of aid to civilians living in opposition-held areas. Russia, with China’s support, also used its position on the UNSC to shutter three of those four border crossings last year, they wrote. 

“Without cross-border access, UN agencies must rely on dangerous and unreliable cross-line deliveries that the Syrian regime can obstruct at any time,” Rep. McCaul and the lawmakers wrote, adding that since May 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, no cross-line deliveries have been made, “putting even more pressure on the one remaining border crossing at Bab Al-Hawa.”

“It is apparent that cross-line assistance is no substitute for cross border, and that the Bab Al-Salam and Yarubiyah crossings must reopen to ensure humanitarian assistance reaches Syrian civilians throughout the country,” they wrote, calling on the United States to “bring its diplomatic leadership to bear to secure humanitarian access to millions of innocent Syrians.”

Rep. McCaul and his colleagues also wrote that “it must be made clear in high-level diplomatic engagements that the United States sees this as an urgent moral imperative.”