UNITED NATIONS - Russia, which had previously blocked a UN Security Council declaration of alarm about the situation in Syria's al-Qusair, let a similar statement pass on Friday after the strategic town fell to troops loyal to President Bashar Assad.
The statement contained all of the same elements that were in a text Russia rejected last weekend, saying at the time it was "one-sided" and amounted to a demand for a unilateral ceasefire by government forces. Unlike resolutions, Security Council statements must be adopted unanimously.
"The members of the Security Council express their grave concern about the humanitarian impact of the recent heavy fighting in al-Qusair," the approved statement said.
It added that the 15-nation council urged Assad's government "to allow immediate, safe and unhindered access ... to relevant humanitarian, including UN, actors, to reach civilians in al-Qusair, in urgent need of assistance, in particular medical assistance."
Government forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies seized control of Qusair on Wednesday, a severe setback to rebel fighters battling to overthrow Assad.
Diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity that it would have been hard for Russia to block the statement twice as Assad's government, which had refused to allow aid workers into the town near the Lebanese border during a weeks-long siege, had promised to permit aid access once they took Qusair.