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Security Council Mandates Single Aid Crossing Point from Turkey into Syria

Russia and China apparently sat back in the UN Security Council on Saturday, satisfied that they had halved the ability to deliver humanitarian assistance to Syria via Turkey. The council approved a proposal sponsored by Germany and Belgium calling for a mandate to deliver that aid for an additional year through just one of two crossings on the Turkish border that had been in operation for the past six years. Russia and China abstained on that vote after having vetoed an extension to the mandate for both crossings on Tuesday. The mandate expired on Friday. Saturday’s was the fifth vote on the issue in a week. Russia, which in January had been instrumental in closing down two aid crossing-points via Iraq and Jordan, is said by analysts to see the delivery of humanitarian assistance from outside Syria as undermining the sovereignty of its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has been waging a war against rebels seeking to oust him for over nine years. In that time, much of the country has been destroyed or severely damaged, hundreds of thousands of people have died and millions of residents have been uprooted.