Security Council Unites on Syria: Don't Block Aid

Russia joins in resolution, but strips it of language on sanctions
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 22, 2014 12:22 PM CST
In this file photo, Syrian girls wait for food at a refugee camp near the Turkish border, in Azaz, Syria.   (AP Photo/Manu Brabo, File)

(Newser) – The UN Security Council united for the first time on a resolution on Syria's humanitarian crisis today, demanding that President Bashar al-Assad's government and the opposition provide immediate access everywhere in the country to deliver aid to millions of people in desperate need. The fate of the Western and Arab-backed resolution rested with Russia, Syria's closest ally, and China, another supporter. They decided to join the rest of the 15-member council in sending a strong message especially to the Assad government that food, medicine, and other essentials must not be blocked.

The resolution does not threaten sanctions—Russia insisted that this reference be dropped from the original Western and Arab-backed text—but it does express the council's intention to take "further steps" if the resolution isn't implemented. All Security Council resolutions are legally binding, but what remains to be seen is whether this resolution has an impact on the ground, especially since it doesn't have real "teeth." UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos expressed hope in a statement that it "will facilitate the delivery of aid to people in desperate need in Syria."

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