Moscow fails to pass its Syria aid resolution day after vetoing Security Council resolution along with China
Russia wanted to reduce the number of border crossings for aid to be brought into war-torn Syria. Its proposal only got four votes. Germany’s Foreign Minister Maas slammed Russia for making the humanitarian crisis worse.
The UN Security Council voted down a Russian draft resolution Wednesday that sought to extend cross-border aid to Syria for six months through one border gate.
Russia wanted to reduce the number of crossings between Turkey and northwestern Syria from two down to one.
The bid only garnered support from China, Vietnam and South Africa plus its own vote. The US, France, UK, Germany, Belgium, Estonia and Dominican Republic voted against the draft resolution, which needed at least nine “yes” votes.
Tunisia, Niger, Indonesia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines abstained.
The Russian resolution sought to extend the cross-border mechanism for another six months and limit the number of crossing points to just Bab Al-Hawa.
On Tuesday, Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution to extend aid deliveries from Turkey to Syria.
The authorization, which has been in effect since 2014, is set to expire Friday.
The resolution was drafted by Germany and Belgium.
Under the current resolution, the UN aid is delivered from Turkey to northwestern Syria via the Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salam border crossings.
Moscow argues that the Bab Al-Hawa crossing could cover all of the humanitarian needs of the population in Idlib, whereas Bab Al-Salam was providing only 14% of overall aid deliveries.
However, UN officials have repeatedly said the two crossings from Turkey to Syria are “a lifeline for millions of civilians whom the UN cannot reach by other means.” Currently, UN aid deliveries are able to cross from Turkey into the country’s mainly rebel-held northwest at Bab al-Salam, north of Aleppo and Bab al-Hawa, in Idlib province.
According to the UN, 70% of Idlib province’s three million residents need humanitarian assistance.
Syria has been mired in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced, according to UN figures.
Germany, Belgium criticize Russia
“Millions of people are counting on the Security Council to allow for as much humanitarian access as possible … [and] we will keep on working to this end,” said Germany and Belgium in a statement after the vote.
German Foreign Minister slammed Russia over the worsening humanitarian situation in Syria, saying the support for a blockade mentality was “playing with people’s lives,” in German national newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.
The UN council has until Friday to agree upon a successor arrangement to the current resolution.