President Donald Trump’s U.N. envoy set foot Wednesday in the no-man’s-land between Syria and Turkey, witnessing the precarious transfer of aid supplies into a seemingly interminable conflict. That reality is far removed from America’s years-old hope for President Bashar Assad to leave power and speedily end the civil war.
From the Syrian side of the border zone, Ambassador Nikki Haley gazed up at a Turkish flag plastered onto signs marking the entrance into that nation’s territory. Syrian refugees once flooded through the run-down Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing until officials cracked down. These days it’s only aid convoys that pass back and forth, trying to meet an unrelenting demand for food, health supplies and other basic needs in the Arab country.
Ferried to the border in an armored motorcade, Haley walked to within just a few feet of entering the Arab land, becoming the highest-ranking U.S. official to come so close to Syrian territory in years. Underscoring the danger, security officials spirited her away from the border after unmarked vehicles were spotted moving toward the area.
Beyond the frontier, she confronted a human reminder of the world’s failure to resolve the war: About 8,400 Syrian refugees in a Turkish refugee camp, some of them stuck there for more than five years.
The dominant theme of Haley’s trip this week to Jordan and Turkey was the need to retool the global approach to meet the needs of Syrians stuck in a protracted conflict now in its seventh year. Haley said she wanted to “bring new life” to efforts to help the refugees, mentioning schooling and training in particular.
“The things they are learning here, you want them to be able to pick it up and do it there,” Haley said. “How do you strengthen them and don’t let them stand still?”
Though many more refugees have rebuilt their lives in cities, the camps stand as evidence of the failure to resolve a war that has killed hundreds of thousands, sparked worldwide terror and migration…