UN to vote Monday on Turkish aid deliveries to northwest Syria – either for 6 months or 1 year

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The UN Security Council is due to vote on Monday on extending aid deliveries from Turkey to the rebel-held Syrian northwest, with a resolution sponsored by Brazil and Switzerland calling on to a 12-month extension and a rival Russian resolution limiting a renewal to just six months.

Aid delivery to the region has increased dramatically following the devastation caused by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that tore through southern Turkey and northwestern Syria on February 8.

Syrian President Bashar Assad opened two additional crossings from Turkey to increase the flow of aid to quake victims, and he extended their three-month operation in May until mid-August. But these crossing points are not mentioned in either of the two resolutions.

Rival resolutions obtained by The Associated Press on Friday virtually guarantee that aid deliveries will continue through the main Bab al-Hawa crossing for at least six months.

Syria’s northwest province of Idlib is home to some 4 million people, many of whom were forced from their homes during the 12-year civil war that has killed nearly half a million people and displaced half of the country’s pre-war population of 23 million. Hundreds of thousands of people in Idlib live in tent camps and depend on aid passing through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing.

The earthquake killed more than 4,500 people in northwestern Syria and around 855,000 had their homes damaged or destroyed, according to the UN

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths told the Security Council on June 29 that the conflict in Syria had plunged 90% of its population into poverty and millions would face aid cuts. food in July due to lack of funding.

He said the United Nations’ $5.4 billion humanitarian appeal for Syria – the largest in the world – is only 12% funded, meaning that emergency food aid for millions of Syrians could be reduced by 40% this month. On Friday, he said the United Nations World Food Program needed $200 million to avert food cuts.

The Security Council initially authorized in 2014 aid deliveries from Turkey, Iraq and Jordan via four crossing points to opposition-held areas in Syria. But over the years Russia, Syria’s close ally, backed by China, has reduced the permitted crossings to just Bab al-Hawa from Turkey – and the tenure from one year to six months. The current six-month term expires on Monday.

Russia has been pushing for more aid to be delivered to the frontlines in Syria, which would give the Syrian government control over shipments. He also pushed for early recovery projects to create jobs and help the country’s economy.

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