Syria’s Autonomous Administration demands al-Ya’rubiyah crossing with Iraq opens

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – A diplomat in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) renewed calls for reopening al-Ya’rubiyah/Tel Kocher border crossing with Iraq for delivering UN aid.

Al-Ya’rubiyah border crossing is located on the Syrian- Iraqi border and was the most official crossing between the two countries prior to the Syrian conflict in 2011.

Since January 2020, al-Ya’rubiyah has been closed to UN humanitarian aid to northeast Syria due to successive Russian-Chinese vetoes.

the vice-president of the Department of Foreign Relations in the AANES Fanar al-Gait said, “The number of residents in north and east Syria is over five millions adding to that the number of IDPs residing in camps including Hawl and Roj.”

“The increasing number of IDPs is faced with lack of UN humanitarian aid,” al-Gait added.

The AANES has reached understandings with relevant countries, which promised to open the crossing, but the successive Russian-Chinese vetoes as well as the narrow international interests prevented these promises from becoming true, according to al-Gait.

The AANES was first formed in 2014 in the Kurdish-majority regions of Afrin, Kobani and Jazira in northern Syria following the withdrawal of the government forces. Later, it was expanded to Manbij, Tabqa, Raqqa, Hasakah and Deir ez-Zor after the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) defeated ISIS militarily.

Al-Gait holds the relevant countries responsible for finding a solution in case a Russian-American understanding on the Syrian border crossings is not reached.

The diplomat is not so hopeful that the aid is delivered through the Syrian government, saying, “This way is not in favor of the residents of north and east Syria, because they will be deprived of the aid as they urgently need it.”

Russia, during discussion in Astana Peace Talks last week, demanded that the aid is delivered through the Syrian government-held areas, and that the US control over a number of crossings in Syria ends.

Over the past two years, the Department of Foreign Relations in the AANES has kept in touch with the relevant countries and the EU, disclosing the extent of harm the region has suffered due to the closure of al-Ya’rubiyah.

The AANES repeatedly called on the international community and the United Nations, since the activation of the UN Resolution 2585 (2021),  to open al-Ya’rubiyah crossing, and to separate the humanitarian situation from the political interests of some countries.

Activists estimate that the closure of the crossing between Syria and Iraq has caused harm to about two million IDPs and low-income residents in the region.

Despite calls by organizations and member states of the UN for re-authorization, the repeated Russian-Chinese veto led to rejection or amendment of the proposal, sometimes even before voting.

The closure of the crossing deprived residents of Syria’s northeast of aid estimated at $26.8 million, due to the cessation of support for many organizations operating in the region, president of the Organizations’ Affairs Office in the Jazira Region, Khaled Ibrahim, told North Press previously.

Reporting by Eva Amin