UNITED NATIONS — Syria’s president has agreed to open two new crossing points from Turkey to the country’s rebel-held northwest to deliver desperately needed aid and equipment for millions of earthquake victims, the United Nations announced Monday.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the decision by Syrian leader Bashar Assad to open crossing points at Bab Al-Salam and Al Raée for an initial period of three months.
Currently, the U.N. has only been allowed to deliver aid to the northwest Idlib area through a single crossing at Bab Al-Hawa.
Guterres said in a statement the toll from the quake “continues to mount, delivering food, health, nutrition, protection, shelter, winter supplies and other life-saving supplies to all the millions of people affected is of the utmost urgency.”
“Opening these crossing points — along with facilitating humanitarian access, accelerating visa approvals and easing travel between hubs — will allow more aid to go in, faster,” the U.N. chief said.
The announcement followed a meeting in Damascus between Assad and U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths. It came during a closed meeting of the U.N. Security Council, which was briefed by Griffiths.
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