Security Council passes resolution on aid in Syria conflict

The UN body remains at loggerheads over how to continue getting UN aid into war-torn Syria

The United Nations Security Council on Saturday approved aid deliveries to Syria through one border crossing from Turkey, a day after its authorisation for the six-year-long humanitarian operation ended, leaving millions of Syrian civilians in limbo.

The United Nations describes the aid delivered from Turkey as a “lifeline” for Syrians in the country’s northwest. The 15-member council had been deadlocked, with most members pitted against Syrian allies Russia and China, which abstained on Saturday in the council’s fifth vote this week on the issue.

Veto-powers Russia and China wanted to halve the approved Turkey border crossings to one, arguing that the northwest of Syria can be reached from within the country. They also wanted to include language that Western diplomats said blamed unilateral sanctions on Syria for the humanitarian crisis.

Council members had also been split on whether to renew authorisation for six months or one year. The short resolution finally adopted on Saturday, which was drafted by Germany and Belgium, simply authorised one crossing for one year.

“Russia is consistently in favor of humanitarian deliveries to Syria with full respect of the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and with coordination of its legal government. This issue should not be politicized,” deputy Russian UN envoy Dmitry Polyanskiy said after the vote.

Twelve members voted in favor, while the Dominican Republic also abstained. The successful vote came after two failed votes on Russian proposals and two vetoes by Russia and China of resolutions drafted by Germany and Belgium.

Since the outbreak of the Syria conflict in March 2011, some estimates have say at that at least 500,000 people have been killed.

Government supporters now again control around two thirds of the country, including the big cities. In addition to the serious economic crisis in the country, there is currently the danger of the coronavirus pandemic. In Idlib, the local health authorities have just released evidence of a first registered corona case.

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