Russia is likely to approve an extension of humanitarian aid supplies to northwestern Syria via Turkey for another six months, diplomats said on Wednesday.

The permission of the 15-member council is necessary because the Syrian authorities have not given consent to a humanitarian operation that since 2014 has been delivering aid, including food, medicine and shelter, to opposition-controlled areas of Syria.

The Security Council is due to vote to extend the measure on Monday, the day before the current approval expires. The resolution requires nine votes in favor and no veto from Russia, China, Britain, France or the United States.

“We are still weighing the pros and cons,” Dmitry Polyansky, Russia’s deputy envoy to the UN, told Reuters, adding that the implementation of the current Security Council resolution adopted in July is “far from our expectations.”

He said that Russia is consulting with Syria and the final decision will be made by Moscow on Monday.

Diplomats said last week members of the Security Council informally agreed to a text giving operations another six months that was drafted and agreed by Ireland and Norway before their two-year term on the Council expired on 31 December.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the Security Council in a report last month that access to aid from Turkey was “a lifeline for millions of people” and renewal of the approval was a critical, “moral and humanitarian imperative.”

Senior UN officials, including UN aid chief Martin Griffiths, warned on Monday that stopping the aid operation would be a “catastrophe” for those who rely on it: “Most of them are women and children who need help, just to survive in the dead of winter. and in the midst of a serious cholera outbreak.”

If Russia abstains from Monday’s vote to allow aid to continue, the Council will avoid the controversy that traditionally accompanies this issue. In July, the council voted three times before the operation was extended, two days after the permit expired.

The Security Council initially authorized the delivery of aid in 2014 to opposition-controlled areas of Syria from Iraq, Jordan and two locations in Turkey. But Russia and China have reduced it to one border point with Turkey.

Russia, which supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a civil war that began in 2011, claims the relief operation violates Syrian sovereignty. It says more aid needs to be brought in from within the country, raising opposition fears that food and other aid will fall under government control.

Guterres said in his report to the council that the supply of aid from Syria “still cannot replace the size and scope of a massive United Nations cross-border operation.”

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Eddie Hudson is an Entertainment News Reporter and Fashion Stylist. Graduated with a degree in Television Production from Howard University. He is an award-winning entertainment news reporter at 24PalNews and credits his upbringing and passion for helping others as the foundation for his success.

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