In early July 2020, China and Russia vetoed a U.N. resolution that would have maintained two border crossing points from Turkey to deliver humanitarian aid to Idlib. Days later, the council authorized the delivery of aid through just one of those crossings, Bab al-Hawa. That one-year mandate was extended for a year on July 9, 2021 and expires this week.
The U.N. Security Council is scheduled to vote Thursday on a resolution to continue cross-border deliveries.
Northwest Idlib is the last rebel-held bastion in Syria and al Qaida-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is the strongest insurgent group in the region. The U.N. said last week that the first 10 years of the Syrian conflict, which started in 2011, killed more than 300,000 civilians — the highest official estimate of civilian casualties.
In a letter to Security Council ambassadors obtained Wednesday by the AP, former International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo warned that by approving cross-border deliveries to northwest Syria, council members “could find themselves materially supporting a U.N.-designated terrorist organization.”
But any support to a “terrorist organization, including humanitarian assistance,” is prohibited by previous U.N. Security Council resolutions, Ocampo said.