UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council on Friday unanimously approved an extension of activity at the only border crossing through which humanitarian aid reaches a rebel-held part of Syria.
This stemmed from a compromise reached by the United States and Russia, both of which hailed what they called a rare instance of cooperation between them.
The UN’s cross-border aid authorization for northwest Syria, due to expire Saturday, will now be prolonged by six months, with a possible six month renewal.
Humanitarian organizations have been pleading for months for an extension of the UN authorization for the crossing at Bab al-Hawa.
The approved text is an amalgam of two drafts — one proposed by Norway and Ireland and another by Russia.
The United States had pressed for the border crossing from Turkey to be renewed for a full year, and sees this resolution as doing just that.
But Russia calls it only a six-month extension, with a possible six month addition depending on a report from the UN secretary general at the end of the year.
The text is the result of a compromise between the United States and Russia in last-minute talks that were broadened to bring in the other three permanent members of the council — Britain, China and France.
It extends the authorization for six months, with an addition of six more, “subject to the issuance of the Secretary General’s substantive report, with particular focus on transparency in operations, and progress on cross-line access in meeting humanitarian needs.”