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UN Security Council passes Syria aid resolution

By Susanna Capelouto, CNN
updated 1:00 AM EST, Sun February 23, 2014
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon listens as Jordan's Ambassador to the United Nations Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein, speaks after a U.N. Security Council vote on the Syria humanitarian crisis.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon listens as Jordan's Ambassador to the United Nations Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein, speaks after a U.N. Security Council vote on the Syria humanitarian crisis.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The resolution is unanimous
  • Resolution also calls for an end to violence including the use of barrel bombs
  • In a rare move Russia and China support the resolution
  • U.S. Secretary John Kerry says it "holds the promise of something real"

(CNN) -- Hoping to ease suffering in Syria's besieged cities, the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution to boost access for humanitarian aid.

All 15 Security Council member states approved the resolution, including Russian and China which had balked in the past.

The document calls for an end to violence, including the use of barrel bombs, and condemns al Qaeda-affiliated terror attacks.

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The council strongly condemned Syrian authorities for widespread violations of humanitarian law and urged all parties to lift sieges of populated areas, including in Aleppo, Damascus and Homs.

"This resolution holds the promise of something real," U.S. Secretary John Kerry said in a statement.

"But these steps are only first steps. The test is whether the words of the Security Council are matched with the life-saving actions the Syrian people so desperately and urgently need," Kerry said.

The resolution does not call for any sanctions or punishment and only refers to "further steps" should it not be implemented.

"Russia has backed the resolution when it was agreed upon and became balanced," said Russia's UN Representative Vitaly Churkin, according to the state-run Syrian news agency, SANA.

Syria's UN Representative Bashar al-Jaafari said that humanitarian support to Syrians cannot be carried out correctly and effectively unless actions match words on not politicizing humanitarian issues and unless it goes hand in hand with stopping terrorism, according to SANA.

Violence continued Saturday in Syria.

The local Coordination Committees, a network of opposition activists, reported at least 59 dead -- including nine children and nine women -- around the country, with the majority of those deaths in Aleppo province.

CNN cannot independently verify daily death tolls, but the United Nations says more than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria since 2011.

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