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In recent months, nongovernmental organizations and journalists have accused the United Nations of bias toward Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime and failure to distribute humanitarian aid to rebel-controlled areas of Syria.The U.N. does work closely with the Syrian government, and humanitarian aid has not consistently reached areas outside of government control.The U.N. has very little power to influence the Syrian government's humanitarian-aid strategy, and if it openly defies the regime, it could lose permission to operate in the country at all.For example, the U.N. has helped negotiate temporary cease-fires so that humanitarian aid agencies can access besieged areas; U.N. agencies have quietly furnished local NGOs working in rebel-controlled areas with sorely needed supplies and technical advice; and the U.N. Security Council has passed resolutions to bypass the Syrian government and allow cross-border humanitarian aid delivery.The U.N. has no other option but to cooperate with the internationally recognized regime, regardless of how that regime treats the population in areas outside of government control.Ideally, the international humanitarian aid regime would more accurately reflect the political realities in countries afflicted by civil war, and the U.N. would be able to work with all parties that control territory.
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