Analysts and NGO officials warned US lawmakers that Russia may close the last humanitarian corridor to deliver UN aid to areas in northern Syria, in response to escalating tensions with the West.
Hardin Lang,vice president for programs and policy at Refugees International Organization, told US House of Representatives lawmakers at a subcommittee hearing on Syria, “I think it is fair to say that we are in for a very rough ride, due to what’s happening in Ukraine and watching the position of the Russians in the Security Council over the last couple of weeks.”
The head of the committee, Representative Ted Deutch, stressed “the need to refuse aid delivery through Assad regime-areas.”
Deutsch explained “The Assad regime has been manipulating aid for over a decade, embezzling millions of dollars from international donors and humanitarian organizations by withholding aid to opponents, channeling it to allies, and engaging in currency manipulation.”
He added that donors are discussing ways to create their own pooled fund to replace the current one managed by the UN, and are also looking at means to coordinate actions on the ground.
He added that “many relief organizations are also at risk of losing their funding if the UN mandate is not renewed.”