July 12, 2022

Six month extension of cross-border aid not enough to avert humanitarian disaster in Syria

Press release

12 July 2022
For immediate release

The UN Security Council today capitulated to Russian pressure by passing a resolution extending authorization of cross-border aid for just six months, an outcome which will hinder an effective humanitarian response. Any further extension of cross-border aid will require a vote on a separate resolution in six months’ time. Last week, Russia vetoed an earlier draft resolution proposing a 12 month extension of cross-border aid.

“Once again today we have seen Russia ignoring the humanitarian needs of Syrian civilians and bullying the UN Security Council into submitting to its demands. For years Russia has been holding humanitarian aid hostage in Syria and playing political games with the lives of millions of civilians,” said Sara Hashash, Communications Director at The Syria Campaign.

“It is outrageous that the lives of civilians in northwest Syria depend on a decision by Russia – which has committed war crimes in Syria – about whether or not to starve them. Just this morning Russian fighter jets and Syrian regime forces were bombing villages in southern Idlib.

“A six month extension is not sufficient to meet the needs of 4 million civilians in northwestern Syria in desperate need of sustainable and reliable humanitarian aid to survive. It also makes it much harder for the UN to plan and fund that aid operation.

“There is no justification for stopping cross-border aid in six months’ time – and it is inhumane to routinely force Syrian civilians to await the outcome of a Security Council vote to find out whether they will be able to access the lifesaving humanitarian assistance they need.

“We urgently need to establish other ways to ensure their humanitarian needs are met, such as taking humanitarian action away from the Security Council and empowering grassroots organizations inside Syria.

“By pushing through this resolution Russia also aims to give Assad’s regime – which has historically used aid as a weapon of war – more control over international aid, increasing the suffering of Syrians for years to come.

“The UN Security Council for its part has once again failed the people of Syria and demonstrated it is not fit for purpose.”

Ismail al-Abdulla , a volunteer with the White Helmets (Syria’s Civil Defence) said:
“It’s outrageous that nobody is able to stop Russia from doing what it wants. Instead of being under pressure amid negotiations at the UN Security Council, Russia launched airstrikes today on villages in southern Idlib to terrorize civilians celebrating Eid sending a very clear message: ‘There will be no stability in northwest Syria and nothing can stop us’.

“Russia has been bartering with the last lifeline for millions of civilians, as if human lives and basic rights to food and dignity are something to negotiate and disagree upon.”

For more information or media requests contact: [email protected]