Displaced Syrians and members of humanitarian organizations and civil societies, including the White Helmets, held protests in northern Syria yesterday to voice their outrage and concern over the month-long suspension of aid entering the Bab al-Hawa border crossing. The majority of protesters gathered at Idlib’s Bab al-Hawa crossing, with additional protests held in western Aleppo. The aid suspension has affected over four million people, more than two million of whom are internally displaced.
The border closure occurred after Russia’s veto at the UN Security Council. Despite legal scholars asserting the legality of resuming cross-border aid, no assistance has reached the beleaguered region, which has been devastated by 12 years of war and recent earthquakes.
Many attendees expressed their strong opposition to cross-line aid or aid supervised by the Assad regime, known for the theft and weaponization of humanitarian resources. Slogans like “We’ll starve and not live on the aid of our killer,” “Humanity has no borders,” “We won’t accept aid mixed with our blood,” “People over Politics,” and “We don’t accept the decision of the crossings in the hands of the butcher of Syria, Bashar al-Assad!” were displayed during the protests.
The situation in northern Syria is dire, with an estimated 90% of the population living below the poverty line and heavily dependent on external aid for survival. In addition to providing food security, vital medical supplies, shelter, and environmental protection are crucial components of the humanitarian aid that can save lives in the besieged region, especially during the harsh heat of summer and bitter winter seasons.