Aid & Development

Syria NGOs Plead For New Aid Resolution At UN

Syria

The UN Security Council was set to vote later on Friday on extending cross-border humanitarian aid to Syria, but Russia has been pushing for a reduction in aid that has set up a showdown with the West. The authorization for the aid, which enters the country without the formal permission of the regime in Damascus, has been in place since 2014 and is set to expire on Friday

ISTANBUL: NGOs working in Syria warned Friday of a humanitarian disaster unless Russia and the West can overcome their differences at the United Nations and renew a resolution allowing aid deliveries.

The UN Security Council was set to vote later on Friday on extending cross-border humanitarian aid to Syria, but Russia has been pushing for a reduction in aid that has set up a showdown with the West, according to diplomats.

“Unless a miracle happens today the Syrian people will be left without humanitarian aid,” said Ghasan Hitto, president of the Syrian

Forum at a press conference in Istanbul that gathered 19 NGOs working in Syria.

“This crossborder resolution is extremely important, this is how aid flows from various countries, from Jordan, from Lebanon, from Turkey into Syria,” he added.

The authorization for the aid, which enters the country without the formal permission of the regime in Damascus, has been in place since 2014 and is set to expire on Friday.

For the NGOs, the issue has become critical as Syrian government forces, backed by Russia, intensify attacks on the last rebel stronghold of Idlib.

Zaher Sahlul, director of MedGlobal, said 360,000 people had been displaced in Idlib in the last three weeks alone, and one million since April.

“The situation is beyond catastrophic,” he said.

“We need the cross-border resolution today,” added Zahed Al-Masri, of Physicians Across Continents.

“If the negotiations do not succeed millions will die.”

Four million Syrians directly benefit from the cross-border aid shipments.

A vote on December 20 saw the Security Council’s 15 members split as Russia and China vetoed a European proposal to extend the aid entering through three spots in Turkey and Iraq for a year.

A competing Russian resolution included only two entry points at the Turkish border and would have extended the authorization for only six months, but it failed to get the minimum nine votes.

Article: Arab News

Image: File/AFP