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UNSC deadline arrives to extend humanitarian aid to Syria


UNSC deadline arrives to extend humanitarian aid to Syria

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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