- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 22, 2019

China and Russia’s veto of a United Nations resolution to reauthorize assistance to Syrian refugees through border crossings not under government control is drawing condemnation from aid groups like “Save the Children” and government officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

On Friday, the Russian Federation and China used their veto authority to kill a draft U.N. Security Council plan that would have renewed Resolution 2449 to continue delivering the critical assistance to millions of victims of the fighting in Syria.

Carolyn Miles, the chief executive officer of “Save the Children,” said more than 75,000 people are sheltering in camps as the winter closes in on them.

“The cross-border system is the only way to reach many of these children and families with urgent humanitarian assistance, including food, shelter and healthcare,” Ms. Miles said. “The U.N. Security Council must not fail the millions of Syria’s children whose lives are at risk and dependent on humanitarian aid.”

The initial resolution was put forward by Germany, Belgium and Kuwait with the support of the U.S. It would have enabled assistance to reach at least four million people in Syria.

Mr. Pompeo lashed out at Russia and China for their veto, saying in a statement that they have “blood on their hands.”

“Both countries preferred … to provide cover and support for its junior partner in Damascus; thus placing the lives of millions of innocent civilians in the balance at the height of winter while further threatening civilians by supporting the continued Assad regime and Russian military offensive on Idlib,” Mr. Pompeo said.

Officials with InterAction — an alliance of about 180 groups involved in development and humanitarian operations — called on U.N. Security Council members to support the border lifeline for Syrian refugees.

“In Idlib, where 70 percent of the population are women and children, the cross-border system is the only way to reach people with urgent humanitarian assistance,” InterAction officials said in a statement. “Aid agencies are already struggling to meet people’s basic needs and as winter approaches, thousands of families continue to live in open fields with no alternative. Now is not the time to scale back on humanitarian assistance.”

There is no substitute for the U.N. cross-border deliveries and no viable alternative to feeding the Syrian people until the Assad regime ends its war on its own people, Mr. Pompeo said.

“Russia and China’s vetoes of this resolution demonstrates that these governments simply do not care that the horrible Syrian regime continues to obstruct and deny humanitarian access to its own people,” he said.

The U.S. is the largest single humanitarian donor to Syria, providing $10.5 billion since the crisis began in 2011, government officials said.

“We are proud of our principled stance to help every Syrian in need — even in regime-held areas — and will continue to shine a light on those who choose not to help,” Mr. Pompeo said.

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