The Russian and Chinese vetoes of Resolution 2449 today is a new low. The price will be paid by the long-suffering people of Syria unless this decision is reversed before January 10. For the last five years, this resolution- authorizing the UN and its partners to deliver aid cross-border into Syria- has been adopted by consensus and has offered a lifeline to millions of Syrians. Today’s veto puts the cross-border humanitarian effort, and the lives of the millions who depend on it, in jeopardy. While the Council has deadlocked on many critical issues pertaining to the Syrian conflict, humanitarian access had previously been protected. 

Four million of the 11 million in need in Syria rely on cross-border aid and the four border crossings in Turkey, Jordan and Iraq to survive. The IRC is deeply concerned about the fate of these millions trapped in ongoing conflict and caught in limbo in what remains a humanitarian catastrophe. Now was not the time to scale back on humanitarian access.

International Rescue Committee President and CEO David Miliband said, “This is the new Age of Impunity. The fighting continues but the aid is stalled. The UN and its partners, including the IRC, depend on this resolution to reach millions of desperate and vulnerable Syrians trapped in an ongoing conflict. This resolution represents the only UN Security Council action designed explicitly to relieve their suffering. Some members of the Council have lost sight of the ongoing cost in human lives of these eight years of war. With a fresh spate of attacks in Idlib, and continued brazen flouting of international humanitarian law, cutting humanitarian aid is the last straw. We call on the Council to prioritize the needs of Syrian civilians and ensure this vital aid continues through the four crossings. The Council should urgently resume negotiations and adopt a one-year renewal before the mandate expires January 10. Otherwise, the UN and its partners will no longer be able to deliver life-saving aid through the previously-authorized border crossing points to Syrians in need – most of whom can only be reached in that way. There is no alternative for millions of Syrians.’