The attempt by Russia to obstruct the proposed extension of a UN cross-border operation that supplies aid to millions of people in Syria from Turkey has been condemned by the United States, France, and the United Kingdom.
The ruling means that the provision of humanitarian aid to residents in the northwest Syrian rebel-held region utilizing the Bab al-Hawa crossing on the Syria-Turkey border is no longer permitted.
Following the vote on Tuesday, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller stated that the United States was “deeply disappointed” by Russia’s “inhumane veto of cross-border humanitarian assistance for Syria”.
“We have repeatedly said that the United Nations Security Council should authorize a 12-month extension of cross-border access into Syria in order to secure this vital lifeline for the Syrian people,” Miller added.
Russia had submitted a draft which provided for a six-month extension but it was voted down by France, the UK and the US. China and Russia backed the proposal, while 10 members abstained, according to the UN.
France said the six-month renewal would have “plunged Syria into uncertainty in winter”, a view echoed by other UN members, which expressed their concern over the harsh winter in northern Syria.
However, Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, warned that if a six-month extension was not supported, “then we can just go ahead and close down the cross-border mechanism.”
A compromise of a nine-month renewal was voted down.