News / Middle East

UN Orders Syria Humanitarian Aid Access

The United Nations Security Council votes on resolution on humanitarian aid for Syria at U.N. headquarters in New York, Feb. 22, 2014.
The United Nations Security Council votes on resolution on humanitarian aid for Syria at U.N. headquarters in New York, Feb. 22, 2014.
VOA News
The U.N. Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution on Syria's humanitarian crisis, demanding that both sides in the conflict provide immediate access to deliver essential aid to millions of people in desperate need.

The 15-member council united on Syria for the first time Saturday. Russia and China — which have shielded Syria's government throughout the country's three-year-long civil war — voted in favor of the resolution.

Saturday's vote does not threaten sanctions. Russia insisted that this reference be dropped from the original Western- and Arab-backed text. But it does express the council's intent to take "further steps" in the case of non-compliance.

The resolution demands immediate cross-border aid access and condemns rights abuses by the Syrian government and armed opposition groups.

It also insists that all parties immediately cease all attacks against civilians and stop the indiscriminate use of weapons in populated areas — including shelling and aerial bombardment, such as the use of barrel bombs.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the council immediately after the vote that the resolution should not have been necessary, because "humanitarian assistance is not something to be negotiated; it is something to be allowed by virtue of international law."

The U.N. chief said it is "profoundly shocking ... that both sides are besieging civilians as a tactic of war."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the newly adopted resolution could be "a "hinge-point in the tortured three years" of the crisis. He called it "a resolution of concrete steps to answer the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today."

Britain's ambassador to the United Nations, Sir Mark Lyall Grant, said the resolution makes more than 15 "very specific demands."

These include an end to human rights abuses, arbitrary detention and torture, an end to the militarization of medical facilities, the departure of all foreign fighters from Syria, and implementation of the Geneva I communiqué.

Meanwhile, fighting continued in Syria on Saturday.

Government forces captured two rebel-held areas on the edge of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights after days of intense fighting near a decades-old cease-fire line between Syria and Israel.

A Syrian television report, citing a military official, said troops and pro-government gunmen known as National Defense Forces captured the areas of Rasm al-Hour and Rasm al-Sad, south of the town of Quneitra.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed troops were on the offensive, adding that the air force was taking part in the attack.

The Observatory also said Syrian air raids had hit a rebel-held bastion north of Damascus while clashes raged on the outskirts of the capital.

In neighboring Lebanon, a suicide attacker blew himself up at an army checkpoint, killing two people after soldiers tried to search his car in the eastern town of Hermel, a Shi'ite Hezbollah militia stronghold.

Areas under Hezbollah domination in eastern Lebanon and southern Beirut have suffered a string of violent attacks in recent months, since the group acknowledged it has sent fighters to support President Bashar al-Assad's troops in Syria's war.

At least one of the dead in the suicide attack was a soldier. Until Saturday, the attacks had all killed civilians.

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: John from: US
February 23, 2014 9:20 AM
If the US and Russia would stop the proxy war there this would be over already. Get out of the way and let the people of this country decide what it will be.

by: Ali from: Iran
February 22, 2014 7:08 PM
hey guys, Assad never attacked Israel and never attacked US interests... I am just saying that if Israel did not take him out and the US never instructed the israhellis to destroy his military - maybe he is not all that bad. maybe the stories that you hear are just some sort of Saudi fabrication? the Saudis are the biggest liars in the ME and they own most of your Media - check it out..!!!
In Response

by: Anonymous
February 23, 2014 12:08 AM
Any Iranians that joined in with assads crimes, or simply trying to defend him in any way from being prosecuted by the people of Syria should be held accountable as accomplices. Thats a fact. As for hezzbolah (the know terror organization) they are helping assad. So it's time the world pin assad to the wall for his crimes and extinguish this terrible situation. No war criminals get away these days unless they commit suicide.
In Response

by: Habash from: Saudi Arabia
February 22, 2014 9:13 PM
hey Ali, why you executing thousands and thousands of Sunni Arabs women and children?? why?? and let me tell you (Iranian filth) we don't need USA and Israel to crush you, we will do it on our own.

by: Anonymous
February 22, 2014 6:05 PM
A STRONG message should be sent to assad by the majority of the UN that if assad is in fact responsible of crime he will be facing a tribunal. This message needs to sink in to his head so he has understanding. He does not currently take ANY responsibility for anything he has done. Every Syrian life counts. Because he thinks he can get away with it without facing any tribunal he is continueing his murder spree of bombarding entire cities, towns, and villages killing all walks of life. This needs to be stopped immediatly. The guy needs to be taught to be responsible for your actions, something his father never taught him, and his father did the same, murdered thousands.

by: Anonymous
February 22, 2014 5:56 PM
EXCELLENT NEWS.... Bashar al assad is not going to like this... He wanted the people of Syria to buckle by hardship (A form of terror). This is excellent news, if only they could capture assad and hold him responsible for ALL of his murders in Syria. You do the crime, you do the time. You cant murder anyone you want and as many as you want... There is a consequence for taking human lives, especially thousands. It doesnt matter if you are a leader of a country or not... It's a crime. The only way this war will EVER end is if assad is arrested.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs