US envoy seeks to keep aid route to Syria open

The US envoy to the United Nations has called for a border crossing between Turkey and Syria to be kept open to allow humanitarian aid deliveries, as the Security Council mandate for such operations expires in July.

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield visited southeastern Turkey on Thursday to inspect the sole point of access for aid deliveries to conflict-torn Syria.

About 3 million people, including displaced citizens and anti-government forces, are believed to be in need of assistance in northwestern Syria.

The Security Council has maintained the route via neighboring Turkey so that humanitarian aid such as food and medicine can be delivered to the area.

A new council resolution is required to extend the cross-border operation, but Russia, which backs the administration of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has signaled its unwillingness to support an extension.

Four international crossing points were reduced to one last year at Russia's insistence.

Thomas-Greenfield expressed concern that if the crossing is closed and aid deliveries are halted, it will cause "senseless cruelty."

She also announced that the United States will provide about 240 million dollars in humanitarian funding for the people of Syria, Syrian refugees, and host communities.