UN Security Council Votes to Extend Cross-Border Aid to Northwest Syria

    UN Security Council Votes to Extend Cross-Border Aid to Northwest Syria
    Last updated Jan 10, 2023
    Image credit: Omar Hah Kadour/AFP [via DW]


    • The UN Security Council has unanimously voted to maintain a cross-border mechanism that allows humanitarian aid to be delivered from Turkey to the rebel-held northwestern Syrian region of Idlib, which UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called an "indispensable lifeline" for 4.1M people.[1]
    • The resolution extends critical aid deliveries for another six months. Since Syria’s government has not agreed to the humanitarian operation, authorization from the UN’s highest decision body was required to continue the shipments to opposition-controlled areas, which began in 2014.[1]
    • Authorization for the operation was set to expire after a previous six-month extension was approved last July. Ireland and Norway drafted the current agreement before the end of the nations' two-year terms on the council on Dec. 31.[2]
    • Russia’s vote was highly anticipated as it is an ally of Syria and has previously abstained or vetoed resolutions on cross-border aid deliveries. In a surprise move, Moscow supported the scheme's continuation.[1]
    • Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said supporting the resolution was "difficult" as northwest Syria was “inundated with terrorists.” He reaffirmed, however, that Russia remains committed to its “principled position” that cross-border aid delivery should be temporary and should eventually be replaced by Syrian government-controlled deliveries.[3]
    • On Sunday, a convoy of 18 trucks delivered important humanitarian supplies through government-held front lines to Idlib, Syria's last rebel stronghold. Turkey substantially backed Syrian rebels in the war's first years.[4]


    Pro-establishment narrative

    While a crisis has been temporarily averted in Syria, Western countries should have pushed to extend humanitarian aid to the country for at least a year to avoid allowing nations like Russia to weaponize relief efforts. Putin and Assad are trying to exercise diplomatic legitimacy for their oppressive regimes, and they should not be allowed to interfere with life-or-death aid.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Syria’s government should be sovereign and the primary provider of aid to the Syrian people. Western countries care very little about the needs of ordinary citizens and use aid to exercise influence over other countries’ governments. This is evident in the fact that the majority of aid is going to Idlib, while only 35% goes to the areas where most Syrians live.

    Establishment split