Aid agencies warn Syrian lives will be lost by U.N.-voted resolution

(Recasts with warning from aid agencies)

A U.N. Security Council resolution on Saturday limiting to only one the number of border crossings for humanitarian aid deliveries from Turkey into Syria's mainly rebel-held northwest will intensify the suffering of 1.3 million people living there, aid agencies said.

“In northwest Syria, where a vital cross-border lifeline has been closed... it will be harder to reach an estimated 1.3 million people dependent on food and medicine delivered by the U.N. cross-border,” Reuters on Sunday quoted aid agencies operating in Syria as saying in a joint statement.

“Many will now not receive the help they need. Lives will be lost. Suffering will intensify,” it said.

Reuters also cited a separate statement by Physicians for Human Rights, which said the resolution had shut down “direct routes to hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians in dire need of food and medicine”.

The UNSC had been deadlocked, with most members pitted against Damascus ally Russia and China in seven ballots, but it passed a text allowing the use of the Bab al-Hawa crossing point for one year, a day after its resolution for the six-year-long humanitarian operation ended. The measure passed with 12 of 15 votes, with Russia, China and the Dominican Republic abstaining, Deutsche Welle had reported on Saturday.

Russia circulated a similar draft resolution on Friday that limits aid deliveries to one crossing point after it joined China in vetoing another draft resolution co-sponsored by Germany and Belgium to maintain aid deliveries through two border crossing points from Turkey for a year.

“Council members buckled and gave Moscow what it wanted – a further drastic reduction of cross-border aid to desperate Syrians who rely on it for survival,” Reuters quoted Louis Charbonneau, U.N. director at Human Rights Watch, as saying.

U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock has insisted that the two crossings from Turkey to the northwest remain “a lifeline for millions of civilians whom the U.N. cannot reach by other means.”

Four million people across northern Syria received support from U.N. cross-border humanitarian assistance, DW quoted Lowcock as saying.