Centralizing Aid For Syria To Damascus Would Increase Obstruction To Humanitarian Relief, Opinion Piece Says

Washington Post: Humanitarian aid in Syria is being politicized — and too many civilians in need aren’t getting it
Jesse Marks, MPhil candidate at the University of Cambridge

“In April, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) discussed centralizing aid operations for Syria to Damascus. … Humanitarian actors in intrastate conflicts across the globe increasingly find themselves caught between the interests of competing political and military interests of states, complicating the implementation of relief actions. … [H]umanitarian actors operating in Damascus … are entrenched in the Syrian government’s bureaucratic framework. This has limited their access to civilians in need and constrained their ability to effectively implement programming and deliver aid. … A Damascus-based U.N. humanitarian regime … would enable the Syrian government to consolidate control over the Syrian humanitarian response, resulting in a humanitarian regime more acquiescent to the interests of the Syrian state or, at the least, silent to the violence employed against Syrian civilians throughout the war. The result is a compromised relationship at a time when cross-border humanitarian operations face an uncertain future. If the United Nations cannot insulate humanitarian operations from state-imposed constraints on access, civilians in communities who participated in the Syrian revolution will likely continue to face barriers to state services and assistance, as well as increased obstructions to humanitarian relief” (8/6).