BEIRUT (Reuters) – The United Nations Security Council was unable on Tuesday to renew an operation delivering aid to some 4 million people in rebel-held northwest Syria, after Russia vetoed a ninth-month extension and failed to win support for a shorter extension.
The mechanism, which officially expired on Monday, had offered a centralized way for aid organisations to get support to desperate Syrians across the Turkish border.
Here are reactions from aid groups concerned.
International Rescue Committee
“It defies reason and principle, that Security Council members would vote to not maintain all avenues of aid access for vulnerable Syrians at this time,” said IRC CEO David Miliband.
“Needs are at record levels across Syria and it remains a major, acute crisis. The earthquakes that struck Türkiye and Syria on 6 February came at a time when Syrian communities in the northwest were already pushed to the brink.”
Syria Relief & Development
“We were shocked it wasn’t renewed, given the situation in northern Syria. We’ve got crisis on top of crisis. Health, education – every aspect of these people’s lives will be affected. The UN runs programmes like vaccination and funds other programmes – all that will stop,” senior strategy advisor Abdelsalam Daifi told Reuters.
Syrian American Medical Society
“This has nothing to do with our work, which is simply to provide dignified medical care to those in need. This work should not be held hostage by this process,” SAMS president Dr. Mufaddal Hamadeh said in a statement.
“Within weeks, essential goods and services will become scarce and even less affordable, including food, clean water, vital health-care services, dignified shelter, protection services and education,” said Sofia Sprechmann Sineiro, CARE International Secretary General.
Human Rights Watch
“The UN leadership and its member states should immediately explore alternative avenues for ensuring that Syrians get sufficient food, medicine and other aid they desperately need without having to beg Russia or the Syrian president for access,” said HRW’s U.N. advocacy officer Floriane Borel.
“Full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access must be protected and sustainable solutions for access to aid in north-west Syria are urgently needed. The endless cycle of vetoes and short-term renewals is simply unsustainable,” the NGO’s UN office said in a statement.
(Reporting by Maya Gebeily in Beirut and Michelle Nichols in New York; Editing by Alexander Smith)
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