UN Security Council to vote Saturday on Syria aid resolution

A young boy searches for food amid the garbage in the eastern Syrian town of Deir Ezzor on Feb 19, 2014. The United Nations Security Council will vote on Saturday on a draft resolution calling for immediate and unhindered humanitarian aid access in w
A young boy searches for food amid the garbage in the eastern Syrian town of Deir Ezzor on Feb 19, 2014. The United Nations Security Council will vote on Saturday on a draft resolution calling for immediate and unhindered humanitarian aid access in war-torn Syria, diplomats said. -- PHOTO: AFP

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - The UN Security Council will vote on Saturday on a draft resolution calling for immediate and unhindered humanitarian aid access in war-torn Syria, diplomats said.

Russia, with support from China, has blocked three previous resolutions aimed at pressuring the Damascus regime since the crisis began in March 2011, with an estimated 250,000 people across Syria awaiting help.

The resolution calls on all parties to immediately provides humanitarian access to populated areas, including the besieged city of Homs.

It also demands the "the immediate cessation of all attacks against civilians", such as through the use of barrel bombs, a clear reference to Syrian army tactics used in Aleppo, in the north.

Moscow's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin received the text late Wednesday and requested time to consult his government, a steadfast ally of Syria.

The resolution was submitted by Australia, Luxembourg and Jordan, and is backed by Britain, the US and France.

Washington has accused Moscow - one of the main backers of Damascus - of not doing enough to make sure the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is fully committed to talks, a charge Russia has rejected.

Last week, UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos called on the 15-member UN Security Council to "use their influence over parties to ensure they abide by pauses, give humanitarian access, commit in writing to upholding international humanitarian laws".

She expressed frustration at the "extremely limited and painstakingly slow" progress in negotiations between Moscow and the West in drafting a resolution.

Russia has opposed the Western text and had instead drafted a rival resolution.

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