The United Nations Security Council is bracing for a showdown between Russia and Western countries over the cross-border mechanism (CBM) of humanitarian aid deliveries to Syria.
The 15-member council approved four border crossings when deliveries began in 2014, three years after foreign-backed militancy erupted in Syria.
In January 2020, Russia used its veto power to limit aid deliveries to two border crossings given Syrian army gains against Takfiri terrorists, and in July 2020, to only one.
Today, aid is delivered through the Bab al-Hawa crossing from Turkey to Syria’s militant-held northwest, and its mandate expires on July 10.
Norway and Ireland have recently circulated a draft resolution to keep the Bab al-Hawa crossing open and restore aid deliveries through the al-Yaroubiya crossing point from Iraq.
The one-page motion, cited by The Associated Press, would also end the current six-month mandate for the crossings and restore a one-year mandate.
Journalist Vanessa Beeley described the move as complete “dishonesty and hypocrisy, not only by the US, but the entire US regime change coalition and the UN, of course.”
Talking to Press TV, the resistance activist noted that Bab al-Hawa is the last remaining urban crossing, which is completely under the control of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), effectively an al-Qaeda rebrand.
“All of the humanitarian aid which enters Bab al-Hawa is seized by HTS and sold at extortionate prices to the civilians under their control in the last remaining al-Qaeda haven,” she explained.
Beeley maintains that by trying to maintain cross-border operations, the US intends to to sustain the terrorist enclave in Idlib and the war against the Syrian government.
She predicted that Russia would very strongly oppose the extension of the mandate for the border crossing, adding that China has also been taking a position against the maintenance of the crossing.
Damascus is negotiating with the World Health Organization and the World food Program to set up humanitarian stations inside government-held areas in Idlib.
“This is absolutely the correct way to go about it. Of course, America is a rogue state that does not adhere to any international law,” she commented.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Wednesday that aid should be delivered within Syria instead, criticizing the UN and the West for doing nothing in this regard over the past year.
“Back in 2014, when the Security Council was adopting resolution 2165 that opened 4 border crossings on the Syrian border to ensure access of UN humanitarian assistance, Russia agreed to this solution which violated Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity only for one reason. The Syrian Arab Republic was being torn apart by terrorists, Syrian statehood per se was at risk, and refugees and IDPs badly needed humanitarian assistance ‘here and now,’” he added.
“Since then, supported by Russian Air-Space forces who arrived in Syria upon request of its legitimate government, Damascus has fought back terrorists, liberated almost 90% of its territory and embarked on solid efforts to improve the life of its people. In these conditions, the CBM is a mere anachronism. In the meantime, our Western partners act as if time stood still. They carefully ignore the fact that it is quite possible (and sometimes much easier) to provide assistance to remaining refugees from within Syria.”
The Russian envoy further underlined the need for respecting Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“Syria’s grave humanitarian problems have a solution, and it should not be sought in the CBM domain. The argument that humanitarians find it more convenient to work within the CBM is little convincing to us. Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria is much more important than this inconvenience, which, as the situation with the closing of “al-Yaroubiya” demonstrated, can be overcome. Unless our Western colleagues both in words and deeds prove their commitment to this goal, there is no point in speaking about the renewal of the CBM. We still have some time before the “D-Day”, Hopefully, it will not be wasted,” he said.
Nebenzia also blasted Western states for targeting the Syrian nation with sanctions while raising concerns about the humanitarian situation in the Arab country.
“During this past year our colleagues were moving in the opposite direction and did everything to exacerbate the problems that Syrians encounter in the government-controlled areas. Suffice it to mention the illegal sanctions, imposed by sidestepping the Security Council - a heavy burden that every Syrian citizen has to shoulder. You blow the whistle regarding humanitarian access while pretending that the problem of Syria’s suffocation with sanctions does not exist,” he explained.
On Tuesday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group is blocking cross-line humanitarian convoys “with the connivance of Ankara.”
Lavrov also accused Western donors of “blackmailing” by threatening to cut humanitarian financing for Syria if the mandate for Bab al-Hawa is not extended.
“We consider it is important to resist such approaches,” he said in an oral statement conveyed to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.