A UN Security Council proposal that would have allowed Syria to receive cross-border aid for an additional year without Damascus’ support has been vetoed by Russia.
On Sunday, the permission to transfer supplies across the Turkey-Syria border at Bab al-Hawa, which has been in place since 2014, will come to an end. More than 2.4 million people in Syria’s northwest, in the rebel-held Idlib region, depend on the help to survive.
The language was approved by 13 out of the 15 council members.
While other nations are against Russia’s favoured choice of a six-month extension with the option of another six months, China, which frequently votes in accordance with Russia, opted to abstain.
The opposition members think that the Russian proposal poses serious organisational difficulties for front-line NGOs. Due to disagreements between Russia and the West, the vote that was scheduled for Thursday has been cancelled.
Observers point out that there is still time before Sunday’s deadline for Security Council members to reach an agreement.
If the mandate is not extended, it is not apparent how Syrians would receive life-saving relief, according to Louis Charbonneau, head of the United Nations at Human Rights Watch. According to Charbonneau, “Plan B is not even close to being as good as Plan A.”
“The relief that is sent through Bab al-Hawa is relied upon by millions of people. It’s a sizable operation that’s extremely well run. Everything the Russians complained about is wholly unbalanced; it is completely clear.
Norway and Ireland’s vetoed text called for a six-month extension until mid-January 2023, followed by another six months of extension “unless the Council decides otherwise.”
The secretary-general would also need to provide a “substantive report” before the extension could be granted, including information on the operation’s transparency, the progress being made in getting aid to the front lines, and the progress being made in addressing humanitarian needs.