Factbox: U.N. Security Council action on the Syrian conflict

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council has adopted five resolutions linked to Syria’s three-year civil war, while Russia and China have blocked another three attempts at action by the 15-member body.

The fifth resolution, adopted on Saturday, aims to boost humanitarian access in Syria. It threatens to take “further steps” in the case of non-compliance, demands cross-border aid access and condemns rights abuses by the Syrian government and opposition armed groups.

The previously vetoed and adopted Security Council resolutions on Syria are:

VETO ONE - October 4, 2011

Russia and China blocked a European-drafted U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Syria and hinting it could face sanctions if its bloody crackdown on protesters continues. The draft resolution received nine votes in favor and four abstentions from Brazil, India, Lebanon and South Africa.

The failed resolution was a watered-down version of previous drafts that had threatened Syria with sanctions if it ignored international demands that it halt its crackdown on protesters. Later drafts removed the word sanctions, though this was not enough to satisfy Russia and China.


VETO TWO - February 4, 2012

Russia and China vetoed a Western- and Arab-driven draft resolution endorsing an Arab League plan for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to hand power to a deputy to make way for a transition towards democracy. The remaining 13 members of the council voted in favor of the draft resolution.

Russia complained that the draft resolution was an improper and biased attempt at “regime change” in Syria.


VETO THREE - July 19, 2012

Russia and China vetoed a Western-backed resolution that threatened Syrian authorities with sanctions if they did not halt the violence. The resolution - to extend for 45 days a U.N. mission in Syria observing a failed ceasefire - received 11 votes in favor, while South Africa and Pakistan abstained.


ADOPTED ONE - April 14, 2012

The U.N. Security Council unanimously agreed to deploy an advance team of up to 30 unarmed observers to monitor a brief, fragile ceasefire.

Before agreeing to support what was originally a U.S.-drafted text, Russia had demanded the U.S. and European delegations dilute it so that it would not “demand” that Syria comply with the resolution. The approved resolution uses softer language so that it “calls upon” Syria to implement it.


ADOPTED TWO - April 21, 2012

The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution that authorized an initial deployment of up to 300 unarmed military observers to Syria for three months.

The Russia-European drafted resolution said that deployment of the U.N. observer mission would be “subject to assessment by the Secretary-General (Ban Ki-moon) of relevant developments on the ground, including the cessation of violence.”

It also noted that the cessation of violence by the government and opposition is “clearly incomplete” and warned that the Security Council could consider “further steps” in the event of non-compliance with its terms.


ADOPTED THREE - July 20, 2012

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to extend the monitoring mission in Syria for a final 30 days.


ADOPTED FOUR - September 28, 2013

The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution that demanded the eradication of Syria’s chemical weapons but did not threaten automatic punitive action against Assad’s government if it does not comply.

The vote by the Security Council capped weeks of intense diplomacy between Russia and the United States. It was based on a deal between the two countries reached in Geneva earlier in September following an August 21 sarin nerve gas attack on a Damascus suburb that killed hundreds.

The resolution does not authorize automatic punitive action in the form of military strikes or sanctions if Syria does not comply. At Russia’s insistence, the resolution makes clear a second council decision would be needed for that. Russia has made clear, however, it would not support the use of force against Assad’s government, a close ally.


Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by James Dalgleish