Conflicts & War

UN laments limits on delivery of aid to northern Syria

Cairo, Jul 12 (efe-epa).- The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs welcomed on Sunday the Security Council’s approval of a resolution allowing aid to continue entering northwestern Syria from Turkey, while expressing regret that only a single border crossing will be open for the purpose.

“This is good news for people in Idlib,” Mark Cutts, the UN deputy regional humanitarian coordinator for Syria, tweeted after the Security Council voted 12-0 with three abstentions – China, Russia and the Dominican Republic – to authorize deliveries through the Bab al-Hawa crossing for another year.

“But exclusion of Bab al-Salam & al-Yaroubia crossing points is very disappointing & presents major challenges for vulnerable civilians,” Cutts wrote.

The resolution was approved after days of haggling that saw China and Russia exercise their veto to block a pair of European drafts, while the United States and its allies voted down proposals from Beijing and Moscow.

Each of the five permanent members of the Security Council – the US, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom – has veto power.

In January, Moscow, the main supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad, used their veto to restrict aid deliveries from four border crossings to two, Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salam.

The aid goes to the region of Idlib, the last remaining bastion of the forces trying to overthrow Assad’s government.

Russia and China maintain that humanitarian aid can be delivered to Idlib from within Syrian territory.

Between Jan. 1 and July 10, 250,000 tons of humanitarian aid entered Idlib. The UN delivered 150,000 tons, 60 percent of which was food, while the rest included medical supplies and clothing, according to authorities in Baba al-Hawa.

Discontinuing deliveries through Bab al-Salaam would deprive “1.3 million people in northwest Syria of cross-border humanitarian assistance that they rely on,” the UK’s acting representative to the UN, Jonathan Allen, said Saturday.

“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. EFE


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