UN Security Council Adopts Resolution on Syria
The UN Security Council adopted a unanimous resolution Saturday calling for rebel groups and regime forces alike to allow humanitarian aid convoys access across Syria, according to Al-Jazeera.
Resolution 2139 (2014) gave some analysts new hope for the humanitarian situation in Syria, which has seen over 130,000 people killed and millions displaced since 2011.
Russia and China, which have both supported Assad's regime by vetoing previous votes in the Security Council, each declined to veto the resolution - sending a powerful message to Assad in the process, analysts claim.
The UN News Center provides some text of the resolution, which demands "that all parties, in particular the Syrian authorities, promptly allow rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access for UN humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners, including across conflict lines and across borders."
The resolution also demands an end to all forms of violence, sectarian or otherwise, and condemns the upswing in activity by Al Qaeda affiliated groups.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the move, but said the resolution "should not have been necessary".
"Humanitarian assistance is not something to be negotiated; it is something to be allowed by virtue of international law," he said. "Profoundly shocking to me is that both sides are besieging civilians as a tactic of war. "
Ban added: "If this resolution is implemented quickly and in good faith, at least some of the suffering can be eased."
The development follows a UN mission to allow humanitarian aid into the war-torn city of Homs last week, which saw at least 1,300 refugees leave the famine-stricken city. The mission successfully provided thousands of people with food, but was stymied when UN forces came under fire.
According to Fox, Homs is only one city besieged by the government forces. Over 250,000 people are estimated to be in at least 40 blockaded cities across Syria, according to recent estimates - where a national hunger crisis is being used as a political tactic.
However, diplomats remain skeptical over the effectiveness of the move, saying that not enough enforcement clauses have been added to the resolution. The resolution does not threaten sanctions if the edict remains unheeded, only vowing "further steps" if the situation worsens.
In addition, reports differ on whether or not the resolution is binding. Al-Jazeera claims that the edict is non-binding; the New York Times notes that this is the first binding resolution since the conflict broke out.