Following the Security Council resolution 2672 (2023) on 9 January 2023, to extend its previous authorization to use of Bab al-Hawa border crossing for the delivery of aid into Northwest Syria until 10 July 2023 and the approval from the Syrian president to open two further crossing points with Turkiye, Bab Al-Salam and Al Ra’ee, to allow more humanitarian aid into earthquake affected areas in Northwest Syria and taking into consideration the difficulties of accessing the earthquake affected areas in Northwest Syria through Cross Line missions from Syria, the operational area under the authority of ad hoc Designated Official for Cross Border missions into Northwest Syria was established.
The ad hoc security management arrangement for cross-border missions into Northwest Syria has been created to facilitate the necessary humanitarian operations to sustain the displaced population in this inaccessible area.
The ad hoc Designated Official (DO) for Cross Border missions into Northwest Syria ensures the safety and security of the United Nations personnel and facilities involved in Cross Border missions into Northwest Syria with accountability to the Secretary-General through the Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security. The level of approval of cross-border missions will be based on the outcome of the Security Risk Management Process and acceptable risk model.
Before 06 February 2023, UN Humanitarian Agencies based in Gaziantep, Turkiye, were limited to delivering Humanitarian assistance to NWS via trucks which crossed into Syria via the only authorized border crossing point (BCP) of Bab Al Hawa (BAH) between Hatay province of southern Turkiye and the governorate of Idlib, in NWS, as authorized by UNSCR 2762 of January 2023. The Actual delivery of humanitarian assistance to the beneficiaries was achieved through third-party (INGOs/NGOs) implementing partners.
However, following the two earthquakes that impacted Syria on 6 February 2023, the Government of Syria agreed for the UN to cross to NWS to provide lifesaving assistance and respond to the growing humanitarian needs of communities affected by the earthquakes and allowed the use of two more BCPs at Bab Al SALAMEH and AL RA’EE at the border between Turkiye and Northern Aleppo. This led to regular UN cross-border missions aiming to scale up the humanitarian response. Between 14 February and 31 March, nine UN agencies, including IOM, OCHA, UNDSS, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNWOMEN, WFP, and WHO, carried out 46 missions to the 16 subdistricts most affected by the earthquake, making an average of one mission per day. For the UN cross-border humanitarian missions to be conducted safely and securely, minimizing the exposure to security risks by UNSMS personnel, UNDSS NWS swiftly conducted Ad Hoc SRMS for the various districts and locations in NWS which were to be visited by the UNSMS teams. UNDSS Damascus and UNDSS HQ supported the exercise. In addition to the SRM process, UNDSS NWS developed cross-border SOPs, CONOPS, and MSCRs for all border crossings. Reviewing and improving the contextual understanding of the security dynamics in NWS, and by extension, the whole of Syria and regional factors, is a continuous responsibility for UNDSS NWS team.
Additionally, UNDSS NWS launched security assessments to inform the security management approach and ensure UNSMS staff safety and security while on field missions. Through these assessments, risk mapping was undertaken and is still in progress. Similarly, liaison with de facto authorities was made to establish communication and ensure coordinated security support when necessary. In addition, UNDSS supported cross-border operations through convoy leadership and coordination.
The UNDSS Ad Hoc Security Advisor (SA) for NWS established, activated, and coordinated the Security cell with UNAFPs security officers and security focal points to collectively assess and evaluate the evolving security dynamics and advise the Ad Hoc DO/SMT and Agency heads on the SRM measures necessary for secure delivery of UN Humanitarian programmes in NWS.
Between 14 February and 04 June 2023, UNSMS organizations successfully carried out 117 cross-border missions into NWS. The UNDSS NWS team has been actively involved in addition to undertaking approval procedures and carrying out pre-mission Security briefing for participants and ensuring compliance with recommended security measures.
The security environment remains dynamic and volatile. The lull in the armed conflict following the earthquake was shortly followed by a resumption of hostilities between the various actors, especially between GoS and the HTS on the IDLEB frontlines. Meanwhile, the government of Syria has extended the permission for UNSMS cross border missions until 10 August 2023, while renewal of UNSCR 2762 is awaited. UNDSS NWS has been facilitated with a newly approved LCSSB, allowing for increased staffing and capacity to effectively provide security support to the continued delivery of UN Humanitarian assistance in NWS.
The role of the Security Information Specialist National Security Officer delivers integrated, efficient, and coherent security support to the United Nations’ cross-border field operations, including through its leadership, to address safety and security needs, particularly in the case of crisis or emergency. Ensures effective security risk management for the assigned area of responsibility in northwest Syria by establishing a coordinated security threat and risk assessment mechanism within a standard system-wide methodology framework. Identifies and evaluates the security-related threats and risks faced by the United Nations civilian personnel when delivering their programmes as mandated by SC resolution 2672 authorized border crossing missions to northwest Syria. Ensures a coherent, effective, and timely response to all security-related threats and emergencies that may occur during cross-border missions. Supports the cooperation and collaboration among United Nations Security Management System entities like UNDSS Syria and UNDSS Turkey, including UNDSS Desk MENA, in planning and implementing measures to improve staff security, training, and awareness.
Threat and Risk Assessment
Security Plan and Business Continuity
Minimum Operating Security Standards
Security Information Management
Supervisory/Managerial Responsibilities: The Security Information Specialist supervises the relevant staff in the Security Unit.
Achieve Results: LEVEL 3: Set and align challenging, achievable objectives for multiple projects, have lasting impact
Think Innovatively: LEVEL 3: Proactively mitigate potential risks, develop new ideas to solve complex problems
Learn Continuously: LEVEL 3: Create and act on opportunities to expand horizons, diversify experiences
Adapt with Agility: LEVEL 3: Proactively initiate and champion change, manage multiple competing demands
Act with Determination: LEVEL 3: Think beyond immediate task/barriers and take action to achieve greater results
Engage and Partner: LEVEL 3: Political savvy, navigate complex landscape, champion inter-agency collaboration
Enable Diversity and Inclusion: LEVEL 3: Appreciate benefits of diverse workforce and champion inclusivity
Business Management-Portfolio Management: Ability to select, prioritize and control the organization’s programmes and projects, in line with its strategic objectives and capacity; ability to balance the implementation of change initiatives and the maintenance of business-as-usual, while optimizing return on investment.
Business Direction & Strategy-System Thinking: Ability to use objective problem analysis and judgement to understand how interrelated elements coexist within an overall process or system, and to consider how altering one element can impact on other parts of the system.
Business Management-Communication: Ability to communicate in a clear, concise and unambiguous manner both through written and verbal communication; to tailor messages and choose communication methods depending on the audience. Ability to manage communications internally and externally, through media, social media and other appropriate channels
Security Services-Security crisis management & response: Knowledge of crisis management and response arrangements as well as the ability to prepare for, respond to, support/manage security crisis events
Security Services-Security advice, planning and coordination : Ability to provide with authoritative advice and guidance on security management, plan and coordinate security activities
Security Services-Security risk management: Ability to assess threats and risks, identify and oversee implementation of mitigation measures, including ability to design and test security plans.
Security Services-Security incident management & monitoring : Ability to provide adequate response to security incidents/events.