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.

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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.

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