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Pompeo Slams Russia, China for Opposing Syrian Aid Resolution

FILE - A boy holds a cardboard box of food aid received from the World Food Program in Aleppo's Kalasa district, Syria, April 10, 2019.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced Russia and China on Saturday after the two countries vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution on allowing cross-border humanitarian aid to Syria.

"The Russian Federation's and China's veto yesterday of a Security Council resolution that allows for humanitarian aid to reach millions of Syrians is shameful," Pompeo said in a statement.

"To Russia and China, who have chosen to make a political statement by opposing this resolution, you have blood on your hands," Pompeo said.

The resolution would have extended for one year cross-border aid deliveries from Turkey and Iraq to 4 million Syrian civilians who have been victimized by the Syrian conflict that began in 2011.

The vetoes raised fears that U.N.-funded aid would be prevented from entering the Idlib region and other opposition-controlled areas of Syria unless an alternative deal is reached before the current resolution expires in less than three weeks.

The ongoing assault by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian bombardments have intensified in the jihadist-held Idlib region since December 16, forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes, the U.N. said.

The U.N. has called for an "immediate de-escalation" in Syria and has warned of other mass displacements if the violence continues.

More than 6 million people have been displaced in Syria since the war began, the world's largest "internally displaced population," according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said airstrikes by the Syrian government and Russia on Saturday killed 12 civilians and wounded dozens of others.