UN approves cross-border aid to rebel areas in Syria

The U.N. Security Council has approved the delivery of humanitarian aid across borders and conflict lines in Syria for another year, with Russia urging a gradual end to the program that has helped millions of people in rebel-held areas.

The council voted 12-0 on Tuesday to extend the mandate of the cross-border convoys, with Russia, China and Bolivia abstaining.

Last month, Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia demanded changes in the resolution, saying the program "undermines sovereignty of Syria."

The resolution added a request to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to conduct an independent review of cross-border operations, which Russia welcomed.

But Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador Vladimir Safronkov said the situation in Syria "has changed radically and the mechanism for cross-border deliveries remains a legacy of the past" and should gradually end.