Syria: grim reality behind Assad's new aid offer

The Security Council has failed to renew the resolution allowing the UN to deliver aid across the border from Turkey to northwest Syria, throwing into question the future of a relief effort that is crucial for millions of people. The resolution, which has allowed the UN cross into rebel-held territories without the permission of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, expired on July 10. The following day, Russia vetoed a new resolution that would have allowed access through one border crossing into the region, Bab al-Hawa, for nine months.

A competing Russian draft would have extended the use of Bab al-Hawa for six months but reportedly included language supporting Assad, and calling for a UN report on the impact of European and US sanctions on his regime. It did not get sufficient votes to pass. (TNH)

On July 13, Assad's ambassador to the UN said Damascus will allow UN aid into the rebel-held northwest via Bab al-Hawa for six months—if it is done "in full cooperation and coordination with the government." But this is unlikely to be welcomed by many Syrian and international aid groups, given that the current system was set up back in 2014 largely because of the Assad regime's obstruction of aid. (TNH)

See our last reports on the dilemmas of Syrian aid delivery, and the Assad regime's "normalization" drive.