In its role as co-penholder in the UN Security Council for the humanitarian dossier on Syria, Switzerland, together with Brazil, has requested a meeting of the council in the wake of the catastrophic earthquake in Turkey. This event also affected northern Syria, where the humanitarian situation was already extremely worrying prior to the earthquake. At the meeting, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths briefed the Security Council on the situation in the earthquake zone and the humanitarian needs on the ground.
Following the meeting, during a press stakeout, Switzerland and Brazil jointly called on all stakeholders to provide rapid, unhindered and sustainable humanitarian access to the affected civilian population in Syria. To date, the UN - based on a UN Security Council resolution - has been able to provide cross-border aid to Syria only through the "Bab el Hawa" crossing. Switzerland and Brazil were encouraged by Syria's decision to open two more border crossings, as announced yesterday. They also took the opportunity to underline that should it be necessary, they remain ready to facilitate any decision in the Security Council.
Switzerland is in close contact with humanitarian actors on the ground as well as with the coordinating UN agency OCHA and other UN agencies. In its approach as co-penholder, it is guided by the assessments of these humanitarian actors. The focus is placed on the humanitarian needs of the affected civilian population.