Blinken urges Lavrov to ensure aid reaches Syrians
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has urged his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov to secure the entry of humanitarian aid to the Syrian people, after Russia announced it will only send aid through border crossings controlled by the Syrian regime.
"The Secretary underscored the imperative of ensuring humanitarian access for the people of Syria", read an official statement released by the US Department of State, after Blinken met with Lavrov Thursday during the Arctic Council Ministerial in Iceland.
Moscow is preparing to stop the flow of humanitarian aid to Syria as of June, as it conditions that all aid should be restricted to entering through border crossings controlled by the Syrian regime only.
The UN has repeatedly warned of the catastrophic impact this could have on millions of Syrians still living in regions controlled by opposition groups.
In March, Russia asked Turkey to reopen three crossing points between regime-held and rebel-held areas in Syria.
Admiral Alexander Karpov, the deputy head of the Russian Centre for the Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria, said that the request had been made “due to the difficult humanitarian situation in Syrian territories controlled by the Turkish armed forces”.
Russia has been a key backer of the Assad regime in the Syrian conflict, while Turkey has supported Syrian rebel groups and maintains observation posts in rebel-held north western Syria, particularly in Idlib province.