The aid delivery across Turkey's border into rebel-held Syria is the only way UN assistance can reach civilians without navigating areas controlled by Syrian government forcesImage: OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP
UN renews cross-border Syria aid with Russia backing
January 9, 2023
The mechanism will remain in place until July 10 after a unanimous vote at the Security Council. While some nations felt this period too short, Russia had previously abstained on or vetoed such aid deliveries.
The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Monday to keep in place a key border crossing from Turkey to Syria's rebel-held northwest open for critical aid deliveries.
The motion means the aid corridor will remain open for another six months, until July 10, providing aid to some 4 million people in the conflict-ridden country.
Despite abstaining on or vetoing cross-border aid deliveries in the past, Russia supported the resolution.
Moscow has previously sought to replace humanitarian aid with convoys from government-held areas across conflict lines in and around Syria's Idlib province.
Since the early years of the war, Turkey has supported some of Syria's rebels, while Russia has backed incumbent President Bashar al-Assad since the beginning of the conflict in 2011. Moscow has show its support politically, with military aid, and, since September 2015, with direct military involvement, marking the first time Russia had entered into an armed conflict outside the borders of the former Soviet Union since the Cold War came to a conclusion in 1991.
Millions of lives at risk
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had warned that the already dire humanitarian situation in the region was only getting worse and if the aid deliveries from Turkey to Idlib weren't renewed, millions of Syrians might not survive the winter.
Syrian authorities did not agree to the humanitarian operation, which has been delivering food, medicine and shelter to opposition-controlled areas of Syria since 2014, prompting the Security Council resolution.
Monday's motion encourages efforts to improve cross-front-line aid deliveries and calls on all 193 UN member states to respond to Syria's "complex humanitarian emergency" and meet the urgent needs of the Syrian people "in light of the profound socioeconomics and humanitarian impact of the COVID-19 pandemic."
Without Monday's decision at the UN, the mandate for the operation would have expired on Tuesday.