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On fifth attempt, U.N. Security Council renews Syria aid via Turkey

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By Michelle Nichols

The United Nations Security Council on Saturday approved aid deliveries to Syria through one border crossing from Turkey, a day after its authorization 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.

German U.N. Ambassador Christoph Heusgen told his Chinese and Russian counterparts to report back to their capitals that he had asked: "How those people who gave the instructions to cut off the aid of 500,000 children ... are ready to look into the mirror tomorrow."

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

Acting British U.N. Ambassador Jonathan Allen said after the vote that the loss of aid access through Bab al-Salaam border crossing would deprive "1.3 million people in northwest Syria of cross-border humanitarian assistance that they rely on."

When the Security Council first authorized the cross-border aid operation into Syria in 2014 it also included access from Jordan and Iraq. Those crossings were cut in January due to opposition by Russia and China.

China's U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun said China always had reservations about the delivery of cross-border aid, but given the current situation in Syria it does not object to retaining it "at this stage." Though he added that "it should adjusted accordingly in light of the developments on the ground."

Russia has vetoed 16 council resolutions related to Syria since Syria's President Bashar al-Assad cracked down on protesters in 2011, leading to civil war. For many of those votes, Moscow has been backed in the council by China.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

5 Comments
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Missing from the article is any mention of the humanitarian aid that flows across the front lines between the legitimate Syrian government and the extremists and warlords and captive Syrian dragoons that make up the 'rebels'.

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Aid for al-Quida and Nusra Front in, USA stolen oil out.

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Quote from above: "Veto-powers Russia and China wanted to halve the approved Turkey border crossings to one, arguing..."

Er, right. There were originally four vital aid crossings. Russia tried to close all of them and nearly succeeded.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1703481/world

Quote from ArabNews: “This is what we tried to do over these past weeks, to get the optimum to the population,” Heusgen said. US Ambassador Kelly Craft told the council: “Today’s outcome leaves us sickened and outraged at the loss of the Bab Al-Salaam and Al Yarubiyah border crossings. Behind those locked gates are millions of women, children, and men who believed that the world had heard their pleas. Their health and welfare are now at great risk,” she said. Still, Craft called the authorization of access through Bab Al-Hawa for 12 months “a victory” in light of Russia and China’s “willingness to use their veto to compel a dramatic reduction in humanitarian assistance.”

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None of this aid would even be necessary if the sanctions against Syria were lifted and Nato and Turkey would stop the support for the remnants of ISIS. It is so sad that this misguided policy continues. Trump made some steps in the right direction, but not enough. This insanity should stop already.

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There's a related programme on BS1 NHK tonight from 10:00 pm on the plight of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, with all the problems that they are facing. Not for the faint of heart it looks.

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