UNITED NATIONS - Global leaders and aid groups urged the UN Security Council on Tuesday to push for humanitarian access in Syria and prevent thousands of people displaced by the 17-month conflict from being "held hostage" by the world body's political deadlock.
The 15-member council has been paralyzed when it comes to taking strong action - including threatening sanctions - against Damascus. Russia and China have blocked three Western-backed attempts to pressure Syrian President Bashar Assad and end the conflict that began as peaceful pro-democracy protests.
Five members of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders promoting peace and human rights, and aid groups Save the Children, Refugees International and the Norwegian Refugee Council called on the council to stem Syria's aid crisis.
"Over one and a half million people inside Syria are now internally displaced persons, uprooted from their homes as a result of the conflict in Syria," the group wrote in a letter to UN Security Council ambassadors.