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Displaced Syrians living on humanitarian aid expressed their concern Thursday after Russia, an ally of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, tried to cut international aid that crossed the Turkish border to more than two million people residing in northwestern Syria mired in war.

On Wednesday, Russia failed to pass a draft resolution in the United Nations Security Council aimed at reducing United Nations cross-border humanitarian aid, after a majority of Council members voted against the text.

On Tuesday, Russia and China used their veto power against a German-Belgian draft resolution to extend the mechanism for delivering cross-border aid to Syria for one year through the Bab Al Salam and Bab Al Hawa border crossings with Turkey.

On Wednesday, Russia put to the vote a counter-draft resolution that stipulates stopping the sending of aid through Bab Al-Salam and maintaining the Bab Al-Hawa crossing only for six months only, but the Security Council voted against the draft.

However, what worries the displaced is that Friday is the expiry date of the international mechanism used to deliver aid. According to the United Nations, about 2.8 million people depend on this aid in northwestern Syria, including in the last major opposition stronghold in Idlib.

“There are people in need. They left behind their homes, they left everything behind … They are staying in a tent of nylon, without a fan and without anything,” says the displaced Abu Salem, 48, a father of five, in the blue camp in the north of Idlib.

“For what reason will they stop relief aid? Where will we come tomorrow with a kilo of rice or a kilo of sugar?” He added, standing near a blue plastic tent.

As for the displaced Ibrahim Hasram (24 years), he did not seem surprised by Moscow’s position in the UN Security Council, especially since Russian warplanes have supported the regime forces for many years in their war against the opposition and jihadist factions, including in Idlib.

This father says to two children, “The Russians deserted us from our homes, bombed and killed us.”

“Now they are catching up with the relief and aid we are getting.”

Sherine Tadros, an Amnesty International official, stresses that this humanitarian aid is “vital” for those in need.

For millions of Syrians, this aid is the difference between eating food and starving to death, she says.

The war that has continued in Syria since 2011 has resulted in more than 380,000 deaths and the displacement of millions from their homes inside and outside the country.


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