Turkey urges UN Security council to allow humanitarian access through border crossings under FSA control
The US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power (R) and the United Kingdom's Ambassador to the United Nations Mark Lyall Grant speak after a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the situation in Syria July 14, 2014 at the United Nations in New York. The Security Council voted unanimously for a Syria aid access resolution. AFP PHOTO/Don EmmertThe U.N. Security Council authorized on July 14 humanitarian convoys to enter through four border crossings, across Turkey, Iraq and Jordan, without the approval of the government in Damascus. The resolution will allow aid deliveries to take place at Turkey’s Cilvegözü (Bab al-Hawa) and Öncüpınar (Bab al-Salam) border gates into areas held by Syrian rebels.
The council’s action is a follow-up to a resolution adopted in February where they demanded that humanitarian aid be delivered to Syria safely and unhindered.
The previous resolution by the U.N. Security Council executed cross-border humanitarian operations through the Nusaybin (Qamishli) border gate. But, Turkey urged the Security Council to conduct humanitarian access through Cilvegözü and Öncüpınar, “because these crossings are closer to Syrian refugees than the other [border] gates,” a Turkish diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News.
“The U.N., in the framework of Resolution 2139, requested by Turkey in March to allow the passage of cross-border humanitarian convoys into Syria through the Nusaybin border gate and we responded positively to the U.N. request. But, we also notified the U.N. to urgently plan and execute cross-border humanitarian operations into Syria through all border gates, including the Cilvegözü and Öncüpınar border gates, which are under the control of the Free Syrian Army [FSA] on the Syrian side,” said the diplomat.
The new resolution also allows aid deliveries across al-Yarubiyah on the Iraq-Syrian border and al-Ramtha on the Jordanian-Syrian border.
In June, Syria’s regime warned the Security Council that delivering aid across its borders into opposition-held areas without its consent is an “attack” on its sovereignty.
The unanimously adopted resolution establishes for 180 days a monitoring mechanism for the loading of aid convoys in neighboring countries, which will notify Syrian authorities of the “humanitarian nature of these relief consignments.”
Syrian ally Russia, backed by China, agreed to support the resolution after more than a month of negotiations on the text drafted by Australia, Luxembourg and Jordan.
The language was watered down to say the council “affirms” rather than “decides” that it will “take further measures in the event of non-compliance.” The 15-member Security Council would need to agree to a second resolution to impose any punishments.
Western diplomats, speaking on the condition of anonymity, admitted the resolution was not as ambitious as the initial text, which demanded blanket cross-border access, Reuters reported. However, they said the four crossings could allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid to nearly 2 million people.
They had also wanted a resolution on Chapter 7, which would allow the council to enforce decisions with economic sanctions or military force, but Russia clearly stated that it would veto any such resolution.