UN fails to agree Syria aid lifeline extension

Syria Bab Al Hawa border crossing
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On 11 July, the UN Security Council failed to reach consensus on extending a key Syria aid route. This threw into doubt a vital mechanism that provides life-saving support to millions of people.

Russia vetoed a nine-month extension of the agreement authorising the operation of the conduit during a vote at the UN headquarters in New York. It then failed to muster enough votes to adopt just a six-month extension.

Russian veto

The UN-brokered deal that allows for the delivery of aid from Turkey into rebel-held areas of Syria expired on 10 July.

Many council members – including the US, the UK, and France – have called for a full-year extension. However, they backed a nine-month compromise put forward by Switzerland and Brazil.

The proposal was vetoed by Russia, whose six-month offer only secured China’s support.

US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield called Russia’s veto “an act of utter cruelty”.

Russian representative Vassili Nebenzia said that Western countries had a “complete disregard” for the interests of the Syrian people. On top of this, he accused them of “artificially” provoking Moscow into vetoing.

Read on...

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He also threatened to “close down” the aid route if support for his country’s draft was not forthcoming.

Syria aid corridor halted

The 15 members of the Security Council had been trying for days to find a compromise to extend the deal. Since 2014, it has allowed for food, water, and medicine to be trucked to northwestern Syria without the authorisation of Damascus.

Humanitarian convoys wrapped up their operations the night of 10 July. Now, the future of the aid corridor is unclear. It cannot resume operations until the UN reauthorises it.

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said he was “disappointed” by the failure to reach agreement. He called on all council members to “redouble their efforts to support the continued delivery” of the assistance.

The Swiss ambassador to the UN said diplomats would “get back to work immediately to find a solution”.

‘Needs, not politics’

Floriane Borel of Human Rights Watch said “aid delivery should be based on needs, not politics”. She added that:

Russia’s cynical veto of a cross-border aid lifeline for millions of Syrians is a painful reminder that the Security Council should not be entrusted with decisions about humanitarian assistance.

The crossing provides for more than 80% of the needs of people living in rebel-controlled areas. This included everything from diapers and blankets to chickpeas. The government in Damascus regularly denounces the aid deliveries as a violation of its sovereignty.

Russia has been chipping away at the deal for years. The accord originally allowed for four entry points into rebel-held Syria. More recently, this was reduced to one: the Bab al-Hawa crossing.

The aid mechanism comes up for renewal every six months due to pressure from Damascus ally Moscow.

An ‘intolerable’ situation

UN humanitarian affairs chief Martin Griffiths called again last week for the opening of more crossing points, for at least 12 months.

He added that the situation:

is intolerable for the people of the northwest, and those brave souls who help them to go through these ups and downs every six months.

He also pointed out that humanitarian agencies have to bring pre-positioned stock into the country every time access is threatened, in case the crossing is closed.

According to the UN, four million people in Syria depend on humanitarian assistance to survive. Years of conflict, economic strife, and devastating earthquakes have only exacerbated the situation.

An earthquake in February killed tens of thousands of people in the country. Following it, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad agreed to the opening of two more crossings.

These remain open despite the Security Council’s failure to reauthorize the use of Bab al-Hawa. The authorization for these two other corridors is set to expire in mid-August.

‘That door is shut’

Guterres’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said those two crossings “cannot match” Bab al-Hawa, which handles 85% of aid.

Since the earthquake, more than 3,700 UN trucks carrying aid have passed through the three checkpoints. Most have passed through Bab al-Hawa, including 79 on Monday.

However, Dujarric warned that:

That door is shut right now.

Additional reporting via Agence France-Presse

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Patrickneil, resized to 1910*1000, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

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    1. Syria This once affluent beautiful Country has been ravaged and bombed back to the Stone Age, Ok Assad may not have been as good to his people as he should have been but He certainly is not any worse than other World Leaders, Look at Us in the laughingly Titled Democratic Free World if anyone believes this absolute nonsense they seriously need to start thinking for themselves. Let’s take a look at our Democratic Free World ! Not one Political Leader has carried out 2% of the promises made to their people even the much Heralded Barack Obama could do nothing to halt the RICH and their insane GREED at the expense of Human Lives the destruction of whole Countries just because their Leaders wouldn’t follow the American Way and worst of all Him and his Government did nothing at all to attempt halting Climate Change Oh! Sorry their idea of saving the Planet was Obama and all the other World Leaders embarked on The Tax Payers Money on Multiple Jaunts to Lovely Cities throughout the World. All the Political Elite and their hangers on showed the rest of us how to save the Planet by Flying all over the Globe then getting into diesel Limos from Airport to Hotel Suite then Climate meeting back and forth back and forth so on and so forth. The same scenario was played out on their journey home except the Hotel Suit and meetings, they all went back to their Tax Payer Paid for Luxury Homes not ONE of these Meetings has made any difference to the Change in Climate all their useless waffle and politically correct speak the Billions of Pounds of Tax Payers Hard earned Money collectively spent has done NOTHING Zero Zilch to Save Our Home. The next time You the Worlds Population sit in your Homes if you have one watching the TV News of all the Elegantly Dressed World Leaders who are Spending your Tax Pounds etc on a Soirée take a good look at the Faces of these Parasites and ask yourself THIS WHY ARE THEY ALL SMILING when the Planet is Dying their People in the Democratic Free World Are Dying of HUNGER , COLD, and even Working People are having to use Food Banks the Unemployed the Elderly the Students the Homeless the Disabled are all Persecuted because they don’t or cannot get work,are, retired , studying for degrees, have fallen on hard times and the final section because they are looked upon as Useless and a waste of Air. This is My Take on The Democratic Free World and My Personal Opinion. A Democracy where Coloured and White Protesters are SHOT by Police who are employed to Protect and Serve but behave like Rohm’s Brown Shirts and Hitlers SS or Stalins KGB, Where people out of work Starve and Freeze and exist by using food banks, Cannot get a Home because Councils and Governments will not Build Homes for the Working and Lower Classes 2023 and the Class System in Britain is Alive and Kicking, Where Working People USE FOOD BANKS to Survive, Where every single Utility the People need to Survive is in The Hands of The RICH Owned by the 2%, Welcome to TORY BREXIT BRITAIN 2023. And all the other Free🤣 Nations are THE SAME.

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