NEW YORK – Russia and China have vetoed a final attempt by western members of the United Nations Security Council to extend the approval – which expires on Friday – for humanitarian aid to be routed through Turkey through two border posts to Syria for the next six months.
According to the United Nations, millions of Syrian civilians in the northwest of the country depend on humanitarian aid provided by Turkey, describing it as a “lifeline”. On Friday, the other 13 council members voted in favor of the resolution.
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The 15-member council has been divided, with most members opposed to the Syrian ally, Russia and China, who want to reduce the number of border crossings to one, arguing that these areas can be reached with help aid from inside Syria.
It was the third failed vote on the issue by the Council and the second veto of Russia and China this week.
The Security Council first authorized the cross-border aid operation in Syria six years ago, which also included access from Jordan and Iraq. These passages were cut in January due to opposition from Russia and China.
On Tuesday, Russia and China vetoed a one-year extension of the approval of the two crossing points in Turkey. The other 13 members voted in favor of the resolution, which was drafted by Germany and Belgium. On Wednesday, Russia failed to get enough support for its proposal to allow a crossing for six months.
The Council is now expected to vote on a second draft Russian text to approve aid deliveries for a Turkish crossing for a year. But because the board operates practically during the coronavirus pandemic, members have 24 hours to vote, so a decision will not be known until Saturday.
Russia has vetoed 16 Council resolutions on Syria since Syrian President Bashar al-Assad suppressed protesters in 2011, leading to civil war. For many of these votes, Moscow was supported in the council by China.