| 18 April 2024, Thursday |

UN Security Council agrees to extend Syria aid deliveries

The key aid delivery program from Turkey to rebel-held Syrian territories, will be extended, upon an agreement that was reached by the United Nations Security Council on Monday.
The aid scheme was due to expire on Sunday, and two Security Council members with veto powers — Russia and the US — had failed to agree on the details of extension.

But the council ultimately agreed to Russia’s plan of extending the scheme for six months, instead of the initially proposed year-long extension.

The aid serves as a lifeline for some 2.4 million people on the Syrian side of the border.

In the first six months of this year, almost 4,650 truckloads of aid went through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing into Syria, according to UN data.
On Friday,Syria ally Russia vetoed a resolution that would have extended the aid by a year.

The Western powers then voted down a rival resolution by Russia that called for prolonging the mechanism by just six months.

Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy said Moscow would continue to veto any text other than its own.

The 15-member council is now slated to vote on a draft resolution on Tuesday.

The draft resolution — which has been put forward by Ireland and Norway — is almost identical to the Russian text that failed to garner support from the council on Friday.

The previous draft by Ireland and Norway suggested the possibility of halting the mechanism in January 2023 if the Security Council so decided.

The new Irish-Norwegian text provides for a renewal in January next year for another six months, subject to the adoption of a new resolution.

It also mandates a briefing every two months on the implementation of the system and calls for a special report on humanitarian requirements in the region to the UN secretary-general by December 10.

In order to pass, a resolution requires nine votes and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, France or Britain.
In 2014, the Security Council green-lighted humanitarian aid deliveries into opposition-held areas of Syria from Iraq, Jordan and two points in Turkey.

The goal was to provide basic necessities to the people living in the last remaining rebel stronghold in Syria.

The area is controlled by a staunch Islamist group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

The mandate, however, is not permanent and needs to be renewed by the council annually.

Moscow argues that the UN aid program violates Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

It calls for more aid to be delivered from within the country, raising concerns among the opposition that food and other aid would come under government control.

  • DW