UNSC deadline arrives to extend humanitarian aid to Syria

The United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) authorisation for the provision of humanitarian aid to Syria through four sanctioned border crossings

UNSC Reuters

Photo: Reuters

The United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) authorisation for the provision of humanitarian aid to Syria through four sanctioned border crossings is set to expire today.

Cross-border assistance serves as a lifeline for millions of civilians in northwest Syria. Despite approval from 13 UNSC members, Moscow and Beijing exercised their veto on Tuesday to kill a German-Belgian proposal that would preserve two Turkish border passages. Russia instead circulated a draft resolution that advocated for a single avenue, which was promptly defeated.

Russia’s disapproval of the dual aid corridors is a continuation of its January negotiating stance. After Moscow and Beijing rejected a Belgian-Kuwaiti-German proposition that called for the maintenance of four border crossings, the UNSC reluctantly acquiesced to a January 10 compromise that eliminated passages via Jordan and Iraq. Russia and China contend that UN authorisation without consent from Damascus constitutes a violation of Syrian sovereignty.

Expect the UNSC to arrive at an understanding before tonight’s deadline. Although council members could potentially remain at loggerheads, a compromise echoing January’s is more likely. Expect a new German-Belgian resolution that reduces the timeframe of their one-year motion to six months. Although members are incensed over Russia’s intransigence—Tuesday marked the 15th time Moscow has exercised its veto regarding Syria—all recognise that a no-deal would result in a humanitarian catastrophe.

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