Russia on Tuesday vetoed at the U.N. Security Council a nine-month renewal of an aid operation delivering assistance to some 4 million people in rebel-held northwest Syria from Turkey and then failed in its own bid to instead extend it for six months, Reuters reported.
The Security Council authorization for operation, which has been delivering aid including food, medicine and shelter since 2014, expired on Monday. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had wanted a 12-month renewal.
Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia signalled that the aid operation could not be salvaged.
After casting the veto and before the council vote on Russia’s proposal, he told the body: “If our draft is not supported, then we can just go ahead and close down the cross-border mechanism. … The technical rollover for any period of time we’re not going to accept.”
China abstained on the vote for the nine-month compromise renewal drafted by Switzerland and Brazil, while the remaining 13 Security Council members voted in favour.
Only Russia and China voted in favour of Russia’s proposal for a six-month extension. Ten Security Council members abstained and the United States, Britain and France voted against it.
To be adopted, a resolution needs at least nine votes in favour and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, France or Britain.
Authorization is needed because Syrian authorities did not agree to the U.N. aid operation. In both 2022 and 2020 the mandate for the operation ran out but was renewed a day later.
“It’s a sad moment for the Syrian people,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the council after Russia’s veto. “What we have just witnessed, what the world has just witnessed, was an act of utter cruelty.
“We must keep at this – the Syrian people are counting on us – and we must all urge Russia to come back to the table in good faith,” she said.
Thomas-Greenfield after the second vote added that the United States would continue to work with all council members to renew the aid operation and urged Russia to reconsider its position.
Russia argues that the U.N. aid operation violates Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It says more aid should be delivered from inside the country, raising opposition fears that food and other aid would fall under government control.
UK Ambassador Barbara Woodward also slammed Russia for its veto.
“Russia has yet again used their veto to restrict lifesaving humanitarian access to 4 million Syrian people. There is no rational or moral argument to veto this resolution,” Woodward said.
“Humanitarian access should respond to humanitarian needs and should not be taken hostage by Russia,” she added.
“As the UK, we will continue, as we have done every year, to put our humanitarian responsibility above politics,” she concluded.
U.S. Slams Syria for Narcotics Trade, after launch of Global Coalition against Synthetic Drugs
In a press briefing on Monday, Todd Robinson, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, explained that new forms of synthetic drugs are regularly emerging.
“Criminals are constantly innovating to create new synthetic drugs, adjusting formulas to avoid international controls and domestic regulation and creating new demand,” Robinson said.
“Over the past decade,” he continued, vividly illustrating his point, “more than 1,100 new synthetic drugs were detected and reported by the United Nations.”
Last week, the State Department launched a Global Coalition to Address Synthetic Drug Threats by holding a virtual meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Coalition.
The Coalition Against Synthetic Drugs includes over 80 countries. Iraq is among them. If this new Global Coalition follows the same procedures as the other Global Coalition established by the U.S. in recent years—the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, of which Iraq is also a member—when meetings of the new Coalition are held in person, it is likely that a representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government will be included in the Iraqi delegation.
Damascus Denounces US Supply of Cluster Bombs to Kiev
The Syrian Foreign Ministry released a statement on Tuesday condemning the supply of weapons by the US administration and its Western allies to the regime in Kyiv. The ministry characterized this act as immoral, exposing the political hypocrisy of these countries and highlighting their irresponsible behaviour.
The statement further highlighted that the US plans to provide cluster bombs to Kyiv are in violation of international agreements and disregard the warnings issued by the United Nations. Such actions, according to the statement, only serve to prolong the war of aggression against Russia.
Syria strongly condemns this dangerous escalation and calls upon the international community to put an end to such reckless acts by the US, as they pose a severe threat to global peace and security.
Four government soldiers killed in Syria’s Daraa
On Tuesday, a soldier belonging to the Syrian government forces was killed, while two others sustained injuries in an attack targeting a military vehicle in the eastern countryside of Daraa, located in southern Syria.
Local sources informed North Press that Abdurrahman Barghash lost his life, and two soldiers were wounded when an improvised explosive device (IED) struck their armoured vehicle on the Damascus-Daraa Highway near the village of Saida in Daraa’s eastern countryside.
The injured soldiers were immediately transported to the National Hospital in Daraa, but there is currently no information available regarding their condition.
In a separate incident, First Lieutenant Muhammad Ahmad al-Tahan passed away from injuries sustained during an assault by unidentified assailants on July 9 in the city of al-Sanamayn, situated in Daraa’s northern countryside, as per local sources. Al-Tahan, originally from the Bab Amr district in Homs, served within the ranks of the Ninth Brigade of the government forces.
According to North Press, Yaser Abdurrahman al-Zarqan was also killed earlier today in an attack by unidentified perpetrators in the city of Kafr Shams, located in the northern countryside of Daraa. Al-Zarqan was associated with a local group affiliated with the government’s Military Security in Daraa, according to the source.
Moreover, unknown attackers targeted “Abu Jaafar,” an official from the studies department of the Military Security Branch in the city of Nawa, located in Daraa’s western countryside. Unfortunately, Abu Jaafar was killed instantly, as reported by a local source.