The UN launches cross-border support to Syria on Moscow-dictated terms

On Saturday, the UN Security Council approved deliveries of humanitarian aid to Syria via the border with Turkey, but with a further reduction in the crossing points introduced by Russia. A snub for westerners.

The UN Security Council reactivated cross-border humanitarian aid in Syria on Saturday, July 11, but with a further sharp reduction that Russia introduced in light of strong tensions with the West.

After seven votes in one week, it adopted a German-Belgian resolution allowing it to continue using the Turkish al-Hawa crossing point that has served the rebel-held region of Idleb for a year, but by suppressing it from Bab al-Salam leading to 1, 3 million Syrians north of Aleppo.

Twelve countries voted for, three abstained: Russia, China and the Dominican Republic, who declared their disappointment “once again the Security Council [ait] failed to respond collectively and constructively to one of the greatest humanitarian tragedies today. ”

In force since 2014, the UN cross-border permit allows aid to be sent to the Syrian people without Damascus approval. Lack of agreement in the Council, following two double Russian-Chinese veto in three days (16 December)e for Moscow and 10e for Beijing since 2011) it went out on Friday.

By January, the mechanism had already been greatly diminished by Russia, which believes it is violating the sovereignty of its Syrian ally. He had lost one port in Jordan and one in Iraq.

“This is good news for millions of Syrians […]that the Security Council could finally agree on our compromise proposal, “however, said in a statement by the head of the German diplomacy, HeikoMaas.

However, the player’s master, Moscow, did not give up, and forced the West to inflict a bitter backlash on them.

During a post-election video conference, Russia, an ally of the Syrian regime, spoke of “hypocrisy” and “difficulty” on the part of Germany and Belgium in the negotiations and attracted severe backlash. With the support of the Russians, China, for its part, asked Germany not to give it lessons.

Scathing-flop

“Russia is controlling this process,” said Richard Gowan, of the International Crisis Group (ICG). This week’s vetoes ”were secondary because in the end Russia would always introduce a solution in terms[acceptés aujourd’hui]”, he told AFP.

For NGO HumanRightsWatch (HRW), Louis Charbonneau also noted that “the members of the Security Council had given Moscow what it wanted – a drastic further reduction of cross-border support for desperate Syrians who depend on it for survival”. Oxfam expressed concern about the limits of “access to water, food, protection and health care [pour des millions de Syriens]”.

From four ports of entry last year, “we are one today, as the number of lives at stake in northwestern Syria reaches millions,” agreed the Council, Member Estonia. while Belgium lamented “another sad day for this council and especially for the Syrian people”.

In recent weeks, Moscow had explained to its partners that the Bab al-Salam starting point was used much less than Bab al-Hawa. Russia has also estimated that aid passing through the control of Damascus could be increased for the Aleppo region.

Arguments rejected by Westerners who believe that there is no credible alternative to the cross-border device and who condemn the obstacles of the Syrian bureaucracy and the policy of a flow of aid in areas not controlled by Damascus.

For the United Kingdom, “the Council had no choice but to approve a resolution that does not meet the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people, which diminishes humanitarian access and puts life at risk”.

While that made Wednesday of maintaining two entrances to Syria a “red line,” the United States also suffered a bitter failure. After the vote, they noted that “the resolution was not what UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and dozens of NGOs operating in Syria had claimed by appealing to the Council”.

The UN chief is also a serious setback. In a report in June, he considered it crucial to extend the mechanism by at least two access points. In a statement on Saturday night, he “only” noted the resolution, describing the cross-border system in Syria as a “lifeline”.

With AFP