World News in Brief: Syria aid lifelines, Sudan telecoms blackout, increased patrols in Abyei, preventing terrorism
The Syrian Government informed the UN on Saturday of its consent to allow humanitarian assistance to be delivered into the region through two border crossings with Türkiye – Bab al-Salam and Al-Ra’i – until 13 May.
This follows Syria’s decision in January to renew consent for the UN and partners to use the Bab al-Hawa border crossing for an additional six months, through 13 July.
‘Vital support system’
“These extensions are crucial, as the UN’s cross-border operations remain a vital support system for people in need in northwest Syria. Every month, we and our partners deliver critical assistance and protection services to an average of 2.5 million men, women and children,” said Mr. Dujarric, speaking in New York.
The northwest is the last rebel stronghold in Syria, and more than four million people there depend on aid. The region is still reeling from devastating earthquakes last February that also affected neighbouring communities in Türkiye.
Mr. Dujarric said approximately 5,000 trucks carrying UN aid have crossed from Türkiye to northwest Syria through the three aid corridors since then. Moreover, UN personnel have completed more than 350 cross-border missions during that timeframe.
Sudan telecoms blackout ‘unacceptable’: UN relief chief
The “unacceptable” telecommunications blackout in war-ravaged Sudan is affecting humanitarian response in the country, the UN’s top aid official said on Monday in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths called for network access to be immediately restored across the country.
He warned that the outages are preventing people from accessing essential services and transferring funds, in addition to hindering relief efforts.
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, echoed those concerns in a social media post. The disruptions are impeding health operations as well as access to health services, he said.
The development comes at a time when humanitarian needs in Sudan are at record highs in the wake of ongoing fighting between rival militaries that began last April.
Nearly 25 million people, roughly half the population, need humanitarian assistance this year.
Last week, the UN and partners launched a humanitarian response plan to reach some 14.7 million people inside Sudan the country this year.
Peacekeepers step up patrols in disputed Abyei region
Relatedly, UN peacekeepers have been maintaining enhanced levels of patrolling to protect civilians in the disputed oil-rich Abyei region between Sudan and South Sudan in the wake of recent deadly intercommunal clashes.
The UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNIFSA) said patrols have been stepped up particularly in the south, where most of the violence has taken place.
UNIFSA is also providing refuge to civilians displaced by the clashes, many of them children, and working with humanitarian partners to meet their needs.
The mission is also engaging with stakeholders at national and community levels to calm tensions and coordinate to provide longer-term security and voluntary return options to those displaced.
Call for action to combat terrorism on International Day
The head of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) has stressed the need for countries to work together to achieve a world “in which the promise of a future without terrorism shines for all”.
Vladimir Voronkov made the appeal in a video message on Monday to mark the second International Day for the Prevention of Violent Extremism as and when Conducive to Terrorism.
“Despite years of counter-terrorism efforts, violent extremists continue to exploit instability and conflict to undermine trust and foment division, destroying the social fabric of communities and challenging the UN’s values of peace, justice and human dignity,” he said.
Furthermore, the digital space provides a global platform to spread violent ideologies even further and faster.
Mr. Voronkov said the International Day provides an opportunity to highlight the commitment from Member States, the UN system and all relevant global partners to unite in common efforts against violent extremism.
He urged countries to “focus on implementing comprehensive approaches encompassing not only essential security measures, but more importantly than ever, systematic preventive steps to address the underlying conditions that drive individuals to join terrorist groups”.
The measures are in line with the UN Secretary-General’s 2016 Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism.