NEW YORK, July 14 (KUNA) -- The Security Council on Monday authorized the UN aid agencies and their partners to use routes across conflict lines and border crossings with Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, to deliver humanitarian assistance to the millions of needy throughout Syria, but only after notifying Damascus.
The use is initially authorized for 180 days, and shall be subject to review by the Council.
The UNSC acted unanimously after Russia succeeded in having the resolution's co-sponsors, Australia, Luxembourg and Jordan, drop the mention of Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which makes the resolution enforceable by a military strike or economic sanctions in case of non-compliance.
Instead, the Council stressed that the member states are "obligated under Article 25 of the UN Charter to accept and carry out the Council's decisions."
In the original version, the use was supposed to happen without permission from Damascus. Russia managed to change it into simple notification.
The number of Syrians in need of assistance has grown to over 10 million, including 6.4 million internally displaced and some three million in neighbouring countries, and other states. Determined that the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria constitutes a "threat to peace and security in the region," the Council reiterated that all parties to the conflict, in particular the Syrian authorities, "must immediately" comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law and implement the Council's relevant resolutions.
The Council said that the use of the border crossings of Bab al-Salam and Bab al-Hawa with Turkey, Al Yarubiyah with Iraq, and Al-Ramtha with Jordan, shall be made "with notification to the Syrian authorities," and stressed the need for all border crossings to be used "efficiently" for UN humanitarian operations, and not to smuggle weapons.
For that purpose, the Council decided to establish expeditiously a monitoring mechanism, under the authority of the UN Secretary-General, to monitor, "with the consent" of Syria's relevant neighbouring countries, the loading of all humanitarian relief consignments of the aid agencies "in order to confirm the humanitarian nature of these relief consignments."
Diplomats expressed doubt that the operation is feasible since the border crossings are controlled by the terrorist groups the Islamic State and Al-Nusrah Front.
The Council also decided that all Syrian parties to the conflict shall enable the "immediate and unhindered" delivery of humanitarian assistance directly to people throughout Syria, on the basis of UN assessments of need and "devoid of any political prejudices."
To facilitate the delivery operations, the Council "noted" the role that ceasefire agreements could play, and stressed the need for the parties to agree on humanitarian pauses, days of tranquility, localized ceasefires and truces to allow humanitarian agencies safe and unhindered access to all affected areas in Syria, warning that starvation of civilians as a method of combat is prohibited by international humanitarian law.
The Council also decided that all Syrian warring parties shall take "all appropriate steps" to ensure the safety and security of UN personnel, stressed the need not to impede or hinder their efforts, and recalled that attacks on humanitarian workers may amount to "war crimes."
It reiterated that the "only sustainable solution" to the current crisis in Syria is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process with a view to full implementation of the 2012 Geneva Communique. It welcomed the appointment last week of the new UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.
The UNSC finally affirmed that "it will take further measures in the event of non-compliance," by any Syrian party, with this resolution or resolution 2139 of last February which remained ink on paper. (end)