UN Security Council passes 6-month extension of cross-border Syria aid


The UN Security Council adopted a resolution Tuesday extending a system for cross-border aid to Syria by six months, the duration demanded by Russia while other members had sought a full year.

The measure received support from 12 of the Security Council’s 15 members, including Russia, China, and the grouping’s 10 non-permanent members.

Western nations had called for a year-long extension, arguing that six months was insufficient to properly plan the delivery of aid to war-ravaged Syria. Britain, France and the United States abstained from the vote, marking their disagreement with the shorter duration.

“Russia forced everyone’s hand: either the system would be ended, or it was extended for six months,” an ambassador told AFP, requesting anonymity to discuss the extension agreement reached in principle on Monday between the council’s 15 members.

“We could not let people die.” The aid delivery mechanism across Turkey’s border into rebel-held Syria at the Bab Al-Hawa crossing is the only way United Nations assistance can reach civilians without navigating areas controlled by Syrian government forces.

The system, in place since 2014 and which more two million people rely on for assistance, had expired on Sunday. The agreement, introduced by Ireland and Norway, breaks an impasse that had threatened to derail the life-saving supplies. It also provides for a renewal in January 2023 for another six months, subject to the adoption of a new resolution, diplomats said.

Both Ireland and Norway expressed relief Tuesday that the cross-border mechanism would continue. But non-governmental groups offered withering critiques of Russia, and slammed the United Nations process as unsustainable and inadequate. —AFP


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