On 11 July 2023, the UN Security Council was not able to renew the cross-border humanitarian aid mechanism in Syria for the time being. The resolution was vetoed by Russia.
The Council's resolution on cross-border aid has allowed UN agencies humanitarian access to north-western Syria since 2013, via the Turkish-Syrian border crossing Bab al-Hawa. More than four million people are dependent on this aid in this region.
Switzerland and Brazil are co-penholders in the Security Council for Syria's humanitarian dossier. Their draft resolution called for a 9-month extension of the mechanism, based on the analysis and urgent recommendations of the UN Secretary-General, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Aid and the specialised agencies and organisations active on the ground. The resolution was vetoed by Russia.
In the run-up to the vote, Switzerland advocated a twelve-month extension, an even broader proposal than the current resolution on the cross-border aid mechanism. Due to differing positions within the Council, an extension by nine months was the best possible solution to ensure that people in need receive the vital support they require effectively and without delay.
The UN General Assembly will address the issue within 10 days, based on a UN General Assembly resolution of April 2022. According to this resolution, following the exercise of the veto by one or more permanent members of the Security Council, a meeting will be convened to address the situation.
Switzerland regrets the uncertainty this creates for the affected local population. Switzerland stays in contact with all Security Council members and humanitarian actors to facilitate, in a transparent and inclusive way an early compromise that will enable continued cross-border humanitarian access to north-western Syria.