US ambassador to UN to travel to Syria border town amid debate over humanitarian aid

US ambassador to UN to travel to Syria border town amid debate over humanitarian aid
© Greg Nash

Linda Thomas-GreenfieldLinda Thomas-GreenfieldUS delegation departs Haiti after reports of gunshots at ex-president's funeral Biden announces delegation to attend Haitian president's funeral State, Dems call out Cruz over holds ahead of key Russian talks MORE, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, will travel to Turkey’s border with Syria this week amid a debate at the U.N. Security Council over the delivery of cross-border humanitarian aid. 

Thomas-Greenfield’s office said in a statement Tuesday that she will meet with senior Turkish officials, U.N. agencies and aid groups to discuss “cooperation on Syria, including managing the refugee crisis; and recognize Turkey’s crucial role in the facilitation of cross-border assistance and work to welcome and provide refuge to millions of Syrian refugees.” 

She will also talk to a group of refugees “to hear about their experiences first-hand, as well as hold meetings with NGO partners and United Nations agencies working to provide life-saving assistance to millions in Syria who otherwise have no access to desperately needed food and supplies.”

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The trip comes ahead of an expected showdown over the renewal of the mandate for a cross-border aid operation at four crossings of the Turkish-Syrian border. The U.N. Security Council in 2020 cut access down to just one crossing in the face of opposition from Russia and China over renewing all four locations.

The current mandate for the operation expires on July 10, and any extension would require nine votes in favor out of the 15-member body and no vetoes from Russia, China, the U.S., France and Britain, the council’s five permanent members.

Thomas-Greenfield is a vocal proponent of the operation and is advocating for crossings to be opened for the delivery of aid.

“Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield will emphasize the urgent need for additional crossings and stepped-up international assistance, as there is no viable alternative to alleviate the vast needs of vulnerable populations in northern Syria — needs that have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” her office said in the statement.