Russian Veto of Cross-Border Aid Resolution Further Endangers Syrian Civilians
U.S. Officials Must Consider Rerouting Aid Outside UN Channels to Ensure Cross-Border Access Continues
December 20, 2019
Washington, DC — Americans for a Free Syria today condemned Russian moves in the United Nations Security Council to end operations through vital crossings that the UN uses for cross-border aid access in Syria.
“Russia’s shameful actions at the United Nations only empower the Assad regime to politicize international humanitarian aid further, putting at stake the lives of millions Syrian civilians who are in desperate need of assistance,” said Erica Hanichak, Government Relations Director for Americans for a Free Syria. “The United States must block all attempts by Russia to stop UN cross-border operations in any part of Syria, and likewise must be prepared, if necessary, to reroute assistance through its own cross-border programs to ensure that aid can reach the areas of greatest need.”
The mandate for the current cross-border resolution (UNSCR 2449) expires on January 10. The UN Security Council deadlocked this month over competing resolutions that differ over where cross-border aid can be delivered. The resolution circulating through Russian officials would cut operations through two of four crossings currently used by the UN, which were unanimously approved in 2018. The two crossings dropped by Russia’s resolution—Ramtha near Jordan and Yaroubiyeh near Iraq—service vital Kurdish and Arab areas in the northeast, which currently fall inside the U.S. theater of operations.
The United Nations first approved cross border aid in 2014, after it became clear that Damascus was manipulating international humanitarian assistance and keeping it from reaching Syrians who needed it most. As of November 2019, at least 2.7 million still rely on the UN’s delivery of cross-border assistance and have no other alternative to receive aid.
Americans for a Free Syria (AFS) is a non-partisan, non-profit that advocates for human rights, the rule of law and U.S. national security interests in Syria.