Hundreds of humanitarian workers formed a human chain in northwest Syria Friday, urging the international community to keep open the only border crossing for aid into the rebel-held region. “Humanitarian aid is a right, not a privilege,” one sign held up by aid workers read, while others stood in a pattern on the road, so that the words “Save lifeline” was visible from the air. A UN authorisation for aid to transit through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing from Turkey into Syria expires on July 10. Aid organisations fear that Russia, a staunch ally of the Damascus regime, might block a United Nations Security Council vote to renew it for a year. Wassim Bakir, from Syrian charity Banafsaj, said if cross border aid was blocked it would be a “humanitarian catastrophe”. Men and women lined up along a key highway leading to Bab al-Hawa, through which international organisations ferry in vital aid to the Idlib region. Some three million people live in the jihadist-dominated region, more than half displaced by Syria’s decade-long conflict. “Closing Bab al-Hawa… means cutting off medicines and food for millions of civilians,” another sign read. For the past year, international organisations have been able to bring in medicine, food, blankets and Covid-19 vaccines through Bab al-Hawa without having to transit through Damascus.