UN Security Council extends cross-border aid delivery into northwestern Syria
The United Nations extended on Monday a resolution that allows the use of the Bab al-Hawa border crossing through Türkiye to deliver humanitarian aid into northwestern Syria, the only remaining available route into the besieged region, News.az reports citing Anadolu Agency.
The long-running aid operation has been in place since 2014.
The 15-member Security Council adopted the resolution unanimously with Russia voting in favor of it in a surprise move. The resolution allows the delivery of humanitarian aid to some 4 million people until July 10.
Russia's Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said that they have taken a "difficult decision" to support the adoption of the resolution.
For years, Bashar al-Assad regime has sought to get rid of the aid mechanism with the help of Russia, which would prevent access to the northwest of Syria that is controlled by the rebels.
The aid delivery was reduced to one border crossing from four in the years when Russia and China vetoed UN resolutions seeking to preserve the cross-border aid lifeline to northwest Syria.
Around 15.3 million people will require humanitarian protection and assistance in 2023, the highest since the beginning of the conflict in 2011, according to the UN.
"The decision...comes as humanitarian needs have reached the highest levels since the start of the conflict in 2011, with people in Syria grappling with a harsh winter and a cholera outbreak," UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement after the vote.
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that Monday's vote allows the Syrian people to breathe a sigh of relief.
"But while this lifeline will continue to operate, so much more could have been done. And so much more still needs to be done," she said.