UNSC unanimously approves an extension of activity at the only border crossing through which humanitarian aid reaches opposition-held part of Syria after Russia agreed to a compromise in talks with US.

A worker holds bags and a box of humanitarian aid in the opposition-held Idlib, Syria  on June 9, 2021.
A worker holds bags and a box of humanitarian aid in the opposition-held Idlib, Syria on June 9, 2021. (Reuters)

The UN Security Council has unanimously approved a resolution extending the delivery of humanitarian aid for a year from Turkey to opposition-held northwest Syria, where the UN says 3.4 million people are in desperate need of food and other assistance.

The resolution was adopted on Friday after the United States and Russia reached a deal on rival draft resolutions backed by the West and Moscow.

"UK thanks Ireland and Norway for their efforts over the last few weeks to engage council members to find a way to meet Syria' s humanitarian needs," Barbara Woodward, UK's envoy to UN said. 

"Without their superb efforts and consultation we would not have gotten to this place, the UN has been clear over the past few months that the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people cannot be met without the renewal of the UN cross border mandate for a further 12 months."

READ MORE: Thousands form human chain in Syria's Idlib to keep border crossing open

READ MORE: New UN draft resolution proposes aid to Syria via one crossing from Turkey

Key issue 

The key issue had been whether the council should authorise deliveries through the Bab al Hawa crossing to northwest Idlib for another year as the West, UN and humanitarian groups said was critical — or for six months as Russia, Syria regime's closest ally, had insisted on. 

The current one-year mandate for aid through Bab al Hawa expires on Saturday.

The resolution authorises aid deliveries through Bab al Hawa for one year with a report from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in six months on the "transparency" of the aid operation and progress on delivering aid across conflict lines within Syria as Russia wanted.

READ MORE: US, Ireland, Norway press for extension of cross-border aid into NW Syria

Source: TRTWorld and agencies