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UN extends cross border aid delivery to Syria

December 18, 2014 at 1:01 pm

The UN Security Council yesterday voted unanimously to extend the cross border delivery of humanitarian aid to Syria without the Syrian regime’s approval for another year, the Anadolu Agency reported.

The resolution allows UN agencies and aid organisations to deliver humanitarian assistance to more than 12 million Syrian civilians who are in need of help through four border crossings, two in Turkey, one in Jordan and one in Iraq until 10 January, 2016.

Resolution 2165, adopted on 14 July, approved the passage of aid trucks to areas controlled by the opposition in Syria but the permission ends in January 2015.

The Council’s 15 member states expressed deep concern at the continued deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Syria.

In a statement issued yesterday, it said the number of Syrians displaced within the country has reached 7.6 million. The Council also expressed deep concern at the obstacles put before the delivery of humanitarian aid and called on the warring parties “especially the Syrian authorities to respect its commitments to international humanitarian law”.

The Council expressed full support for the UN envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, noting that they “expect additional clarifications from him about his plan to establish ceasefire areas in Syria, especially in Aleppo”.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the warring parties in Syria to stop the fighting and sit together to negotiate. In a press conference held at UN headquarters in New York, Ban said he hoped that the New Year will witness an end of the current nightmare in Syria, stressing the importance of a “comprehensive vision for peace in the country”.

He pointed out that de Mistura’s proposal to freeze the conflict in Aleppo is “just a part of his vision for the peace process and does not represent the essence of peace”.

He said: “The proposal does not represent the essence of achieving peace in Syria; it is only part of the perception of the peace process. I urge the parties to the conflict once again to stop fighting each other and to sit down together at the negotiating table.”

Last month, de Mistura proposed a new initiative to freeze the fighting in several areas, starting in Aleppo and apply UN Security Council resolutions 2170 and 2178 relating to the fight against terrorism and stopping the flow of foreign fighters into the region.

In a statement issued by the UN secretary-general’s office last week, de Mistura said that he and his team intend to move forward to implement a proposal to freeze the fighting in Aleppo.

Jordan Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Dina Kawar, welcomed the Security Council’s resolution to extend aid delivery into Syria saying it will help alleviate the suffering of the Syrians and reduce the number of refugees fleeing to Jordan.

Kawar told reporters yesterday: “The conflict in Syria has a direct impact on Jordan. We hope that this decision will help us ease the suffering of the Syrians and to reduce the number of refugees arriving in Jordan.”

“As you know, we have nearly 1.4 million Syrian refugees in Jordan which constitutes nearly 20 percent of the total population. This situation has resulted in political and economic difficulties for Jordan, so I would like to stress that a political solution is the only solution in Syria and there is no alternative,” she said.