Young men hold a former Syrian flag, currently used by the rebels, during an anti government rally in the Bustan al-Qasr district of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on February 20, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ALEPPO MEDIA CENTRE / Fadi al-Halabi
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The U.N. Security Council achieved rare unity to act on Syria's civil war on Saturday when Russia and China supported adoption of a resolution to boost aid access in Syria that threatens to take "further steps" in the case of non-compliance.Russia, supported by China, has shielded its ally Syria on the Security Council during the three-year-long war. They had previously vetoed three resolutions that would have condemned Syria's government and threatened it with possible sanctions. Lithuanian U.N. Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaite, president of the 15-member council for February, described the unanimous approval of the resolution, drafted by Australia, Jordan and Luxembourg, as a "moment of hope" for Syria's people. The United Nations says 9.3 million people need help -- nearly half the population -- and that well over 100,000 people have been killed.The Security Council has now adopted five resolutions linked to the Syrian conflict. Aside from the aid access resolution, three resolutions were adopted in 2012 to mandate a failed U.N. observer mission to Syria and one last year on eradication of Syria's chemical weapons. Western members of the Security Council have been considering a humanitarian resolution for almost a year. U.N. aid chief Valerie Amos had urged the Security Council to act to increase humanitarian access in Syria.
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