Extension of humanitarian aid in Syria, first Swiss victory at Security Council

Since early January, Switzerland and Brazil have been in charge of the cross-border humanitarian aid file for Syria at the UN Security Council. A six-month extension of the draft resolution was unanimously approved on Monday. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the move, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

Aid may continue to flow into northwest Syria. In recent years, this issue has caused significant tension between several countries and Russia before the UN Council. The mechanism allowing the delivery of aid from Turkey to areas controlled by jihadists and rebel groups in and around Idleb province through the Bab al-Hawa crossing point has been extended until July 10, 2023. By the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.

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Considered too short

The mechanism, which expired on Tuesday and was renewed last July for only six months, was imposed by Bashar al-Assad’s ally Moscow. Russia wants aid delivered exclusively through regime-controlled areas and not through the Bab al-Hawa crossing point, which supplies the needs of more than 80% of the population of the jihadist areas.

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Russia’s favorable vote on Monday “does not mechanically change our policy position,” Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said, calling for “respect for Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

Several members of the council, such as the US, France or Japan, which will chair the council in January, have instead insisted they want to extend the mechanism by a year. “The minimum twelve-month mandate for humanitarian actors and the opening of the second crossing point must ensure the most satisfactory delivery of humanitarian aid for the benefit of the population. Ensuring constant and unhindered access is a condition for effective assistance to the population,” said French Ambassador Nicolas de Riviere.

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“Today’s vote is a relief for the Syrian people. But if this lifeline had continued to play its role, more could have been done,” added US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, calling the resolution “very underwhelming”. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “considered” the six-month extension, he said, “at a time when humanitarian needs have reached their highest level since the conflict began in 2011.” -Speak in a press release.

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