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Intel: Congress urges UN to reopen humanitarian aid crossings into Syria

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers urged the United Nations to reopen a key border crossing into Syria, which Russia shut down in January using its veto power at the Security Council.
TOPSHOT - Bags of Russian humanitarian aid are seen laying on the ground, after residents refused to accept them, in the town of Derouna Arha near the Syrian border with Turkey on June 16, 2020. (Photo by Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP) (Photo by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers urged the United Nations to reopen a key border crossing into Syria that Russia shut down in January using its veto power at the Security Council.

Senate and House foreign affairs chairmen James Risch, R-Idaho, and Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., joined ranking members Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Mike McCaul, R-Texas, in a statement calling on the UN to “renew two humanitarian crossings in northwest Syria and restore the humanitarian crossing in northeast Syria.”

“Russian and Chinese efforts to block these humanitarian crossings represent a cruel and inhumane attempt to prop up the [Bashar al-Assad] regime at the expense of the Syrian people,” the lawmakers said. “The UN has a responsibility to the Syrian people to ensure that assistance, including medical assistance to treat COVID-19, can be provided by permitting all three crossings.”

Why it matters:  Russia and China wielded their veto power at the UN to force the closure of two humanitarian aid crossings into Syria from Iraq and Jordan. The other two crossings from Turkey remain open.

What’s next:  Some observers fear that Russia will also attempt to shutter the two remaining aid crossings from Turkey when the UN debates a resolution to renew them next week.

Know more:  Amberin Zaman has the inside story on the UN battle to reopen the Jordan and Iraq border crossings to humanitarian aid.

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