Syria: UN extends humanitarian aid via Turkey

by Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The UN Security Council on Monday unanimously approved a resolution extending for six months the delivery of humanitarian aid to some four million people in northwestern Syria, via the Turkey, overcoming the usual disagreements with Russia on the issue.

A green light from the 15 members of the Security Council is necessary because of Syria’s refusal to approve this operation, which began in 2014, because it provides humanitarian aid to a region controlled by the opposition.

Despite tensions between the West and Russia over its invasion of Ukraine more than a decade ago, talks this time produced no quarrels, after three votes were needed last July to renew this humanitarian aid, two days before the expiration of the resolution then in force.

Reuters had learned from diplomats last week that Council members had informally agreed to approve a text extending the humanitarian operation by six months – a draft resolution prepared and negotiated by Ireland and Norway before the mandate two-year term for both countries ends on December 31.

Approving the resolution was a “difficult decision” for Russia, whose position on the issue does not change, said its ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzia.

For Moscow, support of the Damascus regime against opponents of Bashar al Assad, this operation violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.

The United States, Great Britain and France again advocated a one-year extension on Monday, calling for such a measure to be approved during the next Council vote in July.

(Report Michelle Nichols; French version Jean Terzian)

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