The United Nations Security Council extended a cross-border aid mission into Syria from Turkey on Friday after Russia reached an agreement with the US in last-minute talks, securing the supply of humanitarian aid to millions of Syrians for up to a year.
The unanimous vote by the 15-member Security Council on Friday was a watershed moment for Russia and the United States, whose relationship has been strained on a number of topics.
When US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Geneva in June, they discussed the importance of the cross-border relief operation. Any future cooperation with Russia on Syria, according to the Biden administration, would be jeopardized if cross-border assistance delivery were halted.
Despite the fact that the US had hoped for the Security Council to approve two crossings from Turkey and one from Iraq, Thomas-Greenfield called Friday’s accord a “success” because “we certainly didn’t want less.”
The reinstatement of the “lifeline” for more than 3.4 million people in need, including 1 million children, was hailed by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric however said that with additional crossings and expanded funding, the United Nations could do more to help the rising number of people in need.