İrem UZUN -TDO- Russia and China have vetoed a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution to extend aid deliveries from Turkey to Syria, which the UN says is crucial to save millions of lives. Earlier on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said cross-border access was "vital to the wellbeing of the civilians in northwest Syria... Lives depend on it."

The UN cross-border aid delivery mechanism, set up in 2014 and renewed ever since, is due to expire on Friday. Bashar al-Assad’s government believes control over aid will bring greater political control and a reassertion of its sovereignty following a nine-year civil war. The Security Council will now vote on a rival Russian text that would only approve one Turkish crossing for aid access for six months. During the coronavirus pandemic the council has been operating virtually, which means members have 24 hours to cast a vote on a draft resolution.

“We’re ashamed by what this council has to do right now because of the cynical attempts of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China to put politics above the lives of the Syrian people,” U.S. Minister-Counselor Rodney Hunter said. China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun blamed unilateral sanctions against Syria, which have been imposed by the U.S. and the European Union, for exacerbating the country’s humanitarian situation and urged that they be lifted. He also rejected the U.S. heaping “blame” on China, saying “it’s once again demonstrating the hypocritical approach adopted by this country while they are imposing unilateral sanctions.”

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