UNSC authorizes humanitarian convoys to Syria

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The U.N. Security Council on Monday authorized U.N. aid agencies and their “implementing partners” to enter Syria without the government’s consent.

The humanitarian access through the country’s main border crossings with neighboring states will take place only “with notification to the Syrian authorities,” according to the resolution.

“The United Nations humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners are authorized to use routes across conflict lines and the border crossings of Bab al-Salam, Bab al-Hawa, Al Yarubiyah and Al-Ramtha, in addition to those already in use,” according to the resolution, obtained by Al Arabiya Bureau Chief in New York Talal al-Haj.

Both Russia and China, which have vetoed four Western-backed draft resolutions on Syria since the start of the conflict in 2011, unanimously approved the measure.

The resolution calls for forming a “monitoring mechanism” under U.N. authority to oversee “the loading of all humanitarian relief consignments.”

The monitoring should be conducted “with the consent of the relevant neighboring countries of Syria,” according to the resolution, prepared by Australia, Jordan and Luxembourg.

The monitors would be “deployed expeditiously,” for an initial period of 180 days starting from Monday.

It also calls on the warring Syrian parties to cooperate in the delivery of aid to ensure the humanitarian assistance goes directly to the people throughout Syria without hindrance.

The resolution stressed that “all Syrian parties to the conflict shall take all appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of United Nations and associated personnel.”

The resolution did not refer to Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, on the Council’s authority to enforce decisions with economic sanctions or military force.

The Syrian government has been particularly apprehensive about resolution being under Chapter 7.