Russia sees humanitarian aid as a threat to Syria’s sovereignty

a13-iconNick Bryant reports: In a conflict where 140,000 people have been killed, including more than 7,000 children, while 250,000 civilians are still trapped in besieged communities, it must beggar belief to those unused to the geopolitics of the United Nations that a proposed resolution boosting humanitarian relief should be a matter of angry contention.

The draft resolution put before the UN Security Council in New York has the potential to be a game-changer on the ground.

It demands a lifting of the sieges, condemns starvation as a strategy of war, singles out the barbarity of the barrel bombs dropped on civilian populations by the Assad regime and, most crucially of all perhaps, calls for aid convoys to be allowed to cross the Syrian border from neighbouring countries such as Turkey and Iraq.

It also criticises opposition forces that have besieged areas, though on a smaller scale, and expresses concern about the rise of al-Qaeda-affiliated terror groups in Syria.

However, it is by no means certain that the draft will ever emerge from the Security Council.

The resolution, which was drafted by Australia, Luxembourg and Jordan, has exposed the longstanding division within the Security Council. Three of its permanent members, France, Britain and the US, are pushing hard for its passage because of the alarming deterioration in recent months of Syria’s humanitarian crisis.

Russia, which has stymied efforts in the past to boost humanitarian aid and vetoed three previous UN resolutions on Syria, has again been resistant. [Continue reading…]

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