Aid to Syria extended without UN Security Council vote

AFP

3 min read
A child walks inside a flooded tent at a camp for the displaced by the village of Killi, near Bab al-Hawa by the border with Turkey, in Syria's northwestern Idlib province on December 20, 2021.
Aaref Watad/AFPA child walks inside a flooded tent at a camp for the displaced by the village of Killi, near Bab al-Hawa by the border with Turkey, in Syria's northwestern Idlib province on December 20, 2021.

UN spokesperson says 'We need aid to be delivered through cross-border and through cross-line'

Cross-border humanitarian aid to northwest Syria - not green-lit by Damascus - remains "essential," the UN said Monday, as the measure was de facto extended for six months without a new Security Council vote.

The council previously renewed the authorization allowing aid into rebel-held areas in the country's northwest "for a period of six months... until 10 January 2022," through the crossing at Bab al-Hawa on the Syrian border with Turkey.

The text provided for "an extension of an additional six months, that is, until 10 July 2022," subject to a report by the UN Secretary-General.

For the West, the renewal to July was interpreted as automatic, but Russia raised the possibility of requesting a new Security Council vote, though it has not taken that step.

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In his December report, UN chief Antonio Guterres stressed the impossibility of replacing at this stage the cross-border mechanism for one that crossed front lines from Damascus. 

Moscow favors this method as recognition of the Syrian government's sovereignty over the whole country. 

Aid through the Bab al-Hawa crossing primarily serves the roughly three million people living in the Idlib region, which remains outside Damascus' control.

"The cross-border delivery of aid is essential," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said during his daily briefing. 

"We need aid to be delivered through cross-border and through cross-line. Those are essential elements for us to meet the humanitarian needs of all Syrians."

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