UN aid to Syria in peril as Russia vetoes one year extension
Millions of displaced families in Northwestern Syria held their breath in a fear of abandonment on Saturday as a deadline to end the cross-border aid from Turkey draws near.
A draft resolution to extend the UN mandate allowing humanitarian aid to Idlib region through Turkey’s Hatay province for another year was vetoed on Friday by Russia.
The Bab al-Hawa Crossing is the single lifeline for the area held by the opposition, allowing the UN to deliver food, medicine and shelter to about 4 million people.
Russia’s own draft to extend the aid for six months also failed because of opposition from US, Britain and France which claimed that six-months is not enough for aid groups to plan and operate effectively.
"This is a life and death issue and tragically, people will die because of this vote and the country who shamelessly deployed the veto," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said.
Russia argues that the U.N. aid operation through Turkey violates Syria's sovereignty and seeks to transfer that aid to the Syrian government.