Reiterating that there is "no military solution to the conflict," Antonio Guterres said during an address to the UN General Assembly that Syria is drifting toward a "no war, no peace" situation.

In this January 28, 2021 file photo, Syrian refugees walk through a camp for displaced people muddied by recent rains, near the village of Kafr Aruq, in Idlib province, Syria.
In this January 28, 2021 file photo, Syrian refugees walk through a camp for displaced people muddied by recent rains, near the village of Kafr Aruq, in Idlib province, Syria. (AP)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has emphasised the need for large-scale border access to allow humanitarian aid into Syria.

"A large-scale cross-border response for an additional 12 months remains essential to save lives," Guterres said during an address to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) regarding the situation in Syria on Tuesday.

Reiterating that there is "no military solution to the conflict," he said Syria is drifting toward a "no war, no peace" situation.

Since the ceasefire arrangement under the Astana Agreement, "the main front lines in northeast and northwest Syria remains static," he said.

The Astana peace process to end the conflict was launched in January 2017 at the initiative of Turkey, Russia, and Iran.

READ MORE: UN envoy: Turkey cannot shoulder Syria's tragedy alone

'Collective failure'

Guterres urged all countries to patriate their nationals in the al Hol camp in northeastern Syria, which he called a "collective failure."

The camp is run by the US' main partner in Syria, the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The YPG is the Syrian wing of the PKK, a designated terror group in the US and Turkey that has taken 40,000 lives, including women and children, and support for the group has been a major strain on Turkish-US relations.

The Turkish diplomat heading the UNGA, Volkan Bozkir, said he would soon visit with Syrian refugees, but did not disclose to which country he would be travelling.

"We can't forget" the Syrian people, said Bozkir.

Germany's Ambassador to UN Christoph Heusgen has taken a tough stance and urged Russia and China to not veto any future attempt to deliver humanitarian aid to Syrians.

Turkey's deputy permanent representative to the UN, Bilge Kocyigit, said the Security Council should not make a "mistake" while the humanitarian situation in Syria is "worse" than in 2020. 

Kocyigit noted that the already large number of people needing humanitarian assistant has increased 20 percent.

She stressed that it is "impossible" to reach those in need in northwestern Syria with only the Bab al Hawa crossing point bordering Turkey and that the Bab al Salam border, which is currently closed, should be included.

READ MORE: Survivors of Syria regime chemical attacks ask France to investigate

Donors pledge $6.4B in aid, short of UN goal

International donors on Tuesday pledged $6.4 billion in aid grants for Syria and refugees in neighbouring countries, well short of a UN target of $10 billion. 

EU crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarcic said $4.4 billion was for 2021 and $2 billion was for 2022 and beyond. 

The promise of aid comes amid a worsening coronavirus pandemic and as the war enters its 11th year without a political solution in sight. The 27-nation EU and the US announced their commitments on the final day of an annual pledging event co-hosted by the United Nations.

The virtual event gathered dozens of countries and international organisations. The total amount pledged was expected to be announced Tuesday night.

The UN and other aid groups are seeking more than $4 billion for aid to Syria at this year’s conference, their biggest appeal yet. Another $5.8 billion is requested for nearly 6 million Syrian refugees who fled their homeland.

Underscoring the added suffering imposed on Syrians by the Covid-19 crisis, the EU's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said the bloc's pledge of 560 million euros ($656.6 million) was equal to the amount pledged last year.

“This is not something to be celebrated. It just shows how tragic and prolonged the situation is for the Syrian people," he said.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield announced more than $596 million in US humanitarian assistance. The State Department said the aid will benefit people in Syria and refugees in neighbouring Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.

READ MORE: US urges opening of more crossings for Syria aid as UN seeks billions

Worsening crisis amid Covid-19 

The decade of bloodshed in Syria has killed more than a half-million people and sparked an exodus of refugees that has destabilised neighbouring countries and impacted Europe.

According to the UN, 13.4 million people in Syria — more than half the country’s pre-war population — need assistance. That’s a 20 percent increase from last year.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Syria's humanitarian situation has worsened.

The local currency has crashed and food prices have soared — increasing by 222 percent from last year. 

READ MORE: Marking ten years of Aalwan’s childhood and Syria’s decade of war

Source: TRTWorld and agencies