18 December 2019 UN Security Council members clash over resolution on cross-border aid for Syria

Russia and China opposed a resolution to be tabled before Christmas to increase the number of cross-border points to deliver aid for Syrians, particularly in rebel-held areas. Germany, Belgium and Kuwait proposed a resolution draft to add a new crossing point at Tal Abyad, Turkey, and extend humanitarian cross-border operations for a year. Currently, there are four border crossing points to Syria: Bab al-Salam and Bab al-Hawa in Turkey, al-Yarubiyah in Iraq and al-Ramtha in Jordan and authorization for operation expires on 10 January. Actually, China and Russia sponsored a rival resolution seeking to close the crossing points in Iraq and Jordan and keeping only the Turkish ones, and to renew the operations for only six months. The ten elected members of the Council rallied behind the resolution, arguing that “this is a mechanism that enables life-saving assistance to reach 4 million people in Syria”. Also UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the UN does not have other means of reaching people in these areas. On 17 December, Syrian and Russian airstrikes killed at least 17 people in northwest areas under rebel control.