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Russia Aims to Close 2 Border Crossings Used to Bring Humanitarian Aid to Syria

Russia has proposed closing two of the four UN Security Council-authorized crossing points into Syria used by aid groups for the past six years to deliver humanitarian assistance to around 4 million people. The two crossing points that would be closed are from Iraq and Jordan; the two that would be left open are on the Syria-Turkey border. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has said that all four crossing points are essential, and a proposal by Belgium, Kuwait and Germany would see the number of authorized crossings increased to five with the opening of a third crossing on the Syria-Turkey border. But Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia has described that idea as “unacceptable.” The crossing points were established with the passage in 2014 of UN Security Council Resolution 2165, which expires on January 10. If it is not renewed, there could be major disruptions in the delivery of lifesaving aid to Syria’s beleaguered population.