Syrians Welcome UN Aid Vote, Aid Groups Wary of Reductions

Many in Idlib distributed sweets and staged celebrations after hearing of the Iran general’s assassination

Many in Idlib distributed sweets and staged celebrations after hearing of the Iran general’s assassination

Without the renewal of the cross-border mechanism, the United Nations will be forced to request approval from the Syrian Government to deliver aid to northern Syria (Idlib, northern Aleppo, and north-east), with no guarantee that these requests will be approved.

"We find ourselves in this situation because the Russian Federation has made a decision to use deprivation as a weapon against the Syrian people", U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft said.

Resolution sponsors Germany, Belgium and Kuwait have pushed for the continued delivery of aid through two crossing points in Turkey and one in Iraq. The border crossings serve as a lifeline to more than four million civilians inside Syria - including two million children - the majority of whom can not receive vital aid by any other means.

Co-penholders of the text Belgium and Germany initially wanted to re-authorize the Iraqi crossing and earlier sought a yearlong extension, but Russian Federation said the situation on the ground has changed dramatically and the renewed mechanism has to reflect the change.

Many countries that voted for the resolution expressed disappointment that more crossing points weren't included, but said they did so to save lives in Idlib province and other opposition areas in the northwest.

"Britain's envoy said that while a serious diplomatic effort was made to keep the crossings open, ultimately the deal is "a woefully inadequate response" to the situation on the ground".

Russian Federation sees the worldwide authorization of cross-border aid shipments as "breach of sovereignty, and that is a reality", the western diplomat said. "Syrians will die as a result of this resolution", she stressed. Two crossings from Turkey into northwestern Syria will remain.

"I was so pleased when I heard the news this morning", said Abu Abdo, an unemployed father of four.

"The border crossings serve as a lifeline to more than four million civilians inside Syria - including two million children - the majority of whom can not receive vital aid by any other means", it said.

UK's ambassador to the UN, Karen Pierce, said the council's vote Friday let down the people of Syria.

It is more streamlined than the defeated measure and addresses some concerns of Russia, Syria's closest ally, including calling on U.N. humanitarian agencies "to improve monitoring of the deliverty and distribution of United Nations relief consignments and their delivery inside Syria".

But Pierce said cross-border deliveries do not require consent from the Syrian government.

"There are some 1.8 million people at risk in the northeast if we don't find a way to help them". A Turkish offensive in October against Syrian Kurdish militants led the U.S.to abandon its Kurdish allies, both countries drawing strong criticism.

Veto wielding Security Council members China and Russian Federation rejected a more robust assistance mission in December. All were unhappy with the final draft resolution, but none wanted to be seen to be blocking humanitarian aid operations.

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