Russia on Tuesday vetoed a resolution at the UN Security Council seeking a nine-month extension of the key Syria aid route, throwing into doubt a vital mechanism providing life-saving aid to millions of people.
A UN-brokered deal that allows Turkey to deliver aid to Syrian rebel-held areas expired a day earlier. AFP informed of.
Several council members, including the United States (US) and Britain, have called for a full-year extension, but Russia has insisted on an extension of only six months.
It vetoed a nine-month agreement proposed by Switzerland and Brazil.
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield called the veto “an act of utter brutality”.
The 15 members of the Security Council have been trying for days to find a compromise to advance the deal, which has allowed food, water and medicine to move into northwestern Syria since 2014 without authorization from Damascus.
The crossing meets more than 80% of the needs of people living in rebel-controlled areas – everything from diapers and blankets to chickpeas. The government in Damascus routinely denounces the aid delivery as a violation of its sovereignty.
Russia has been cutting aid mechanisms for years.
The agreement originally allowed four entry points into rebel-held Syria, although now only the Bab al-Hawa crossing remains passable. The aid mechanism comes up for renewal every six months due to pressure from Damascus’s ally Moscow.