Earthquake-hit Syria to open two more border crossings for aid delivery: UN


Syria’s government has agreed to open two more border crossings to allow aid into the country devastated by last week’s deadly earthquakes, the UN says. “It’s going to make a big difference. We are now using just one crossing,” a spokesman for UN Secretary General António Guterres told.

The quakes in neighbouring Turkey are known to have killed almost 40,000 people in the two countries. Many Syrians have been angry over the lack of aid to their war-torn nation. The government of President Bashar al-Assad has blamed difficulties in rescue efforts on the impact of Western sanctions imposed on the country.

But international aid groups say the key impediments are the Assad government’s mismanagement and refusal to engage with all areas of the country. More than 5,700 people are now known to have been killed in Syria by the 6 February earthquakes. In Turkey, the death toll has already exceeded 31,000. More than one million people have been left homeless in Turkey, and in Syria this number could be much higher, aid organisations warn.

It said the crossings into rebel-held north-western Syria would initially be open for three months. “Very shortly we will use the other two crossings,” Mr Guterres’ spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told.—INP