UNSC Resolution On Humanitarian Access for Syria Passes 15-0. What’s Next

The Security Council has unanimously passed a resolution calling for unfettered humanitarian access to besieged population in Syria.  This was a key test of unity at the Security Council–until the moment of the vote, Russia did not indicate whether or not it would block the resolution.

The fact that this resolution passed 15-0 augurs well for the chances that it will be implemented on the ground. In particular, Russia’s affirmative vote suggests that Moscow will press the Assad government to loosen restrictions it has placed on humanitarian agencies working in Syria. A modicum of relief may be on the way for 6.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria.

Today’s vote was the second time that a resolution on Syria has won the unanimous support of the Security Council. The first was a resolution this fall compelling Syria to turn over it’s chemical weapons stockpile. To their credit, diplomats at the UN harnessed momentum from that moment of unity to make progress on the issue of humanitarian access, which culminated in today’s vote.

Progress begets progress at the Security Council. The next big question is whether diplomats can now leverage this moment of unity to create more positive conditions for peace talks.