The UN Security Council yesterday voted down a Russian resolution that sought to halve the amount of humanitarian aid delivered to internally displaced persons in Syria’s north-west province of Idlib.
The bid was only supported by China, Vietnam and South Africa. It was intended to extend the cross-border aid mechanism for another six months while limiting the transportation of aid to only one border crossing at Bab Al-Hawa and blocking the second crossing at Bab Al-Salam.
The countries which voted against the resolution were the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Estonia and the Dominican Republic. Those which abstained were Tunisia, Niger, Indonesia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The proposed resolution came after both Russia and China vetoed the current Security Council resolution to extend aid deliveries from Turkey to Syria which has been in place since 2014 and is set to expire tomorrow.
Russia’s reasoning for its veto is that the Bab Al-Hawa crossing is sufficient to cope with all the humanitarian needs of Idlib’s population, while the Bab Al-Salam crossing reportedly covers just 14 per cent of aid deliveries.
With the Syrian regime recapturing much of its territory over the past few years of the civil war, civilians have been further displaced and forced to flee to the north. Around 3 million now live in Idlib province.
According to the UN, 70 per cent of the province’s residents are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. “[Such aid is] a lifeline for millions of civilians whom the UN cannot reach by other means.”
Russia’s attempt to limit the aid going into Syria comes shortly after it also quit a UN agreement which protects hospitals and health facilities within the country.