By Kevin Bogardus - 02/22/14 01:20 PM EST
The UN Security Council approved a resolution to boost humanitarian aid to Syria.
In a rare Saturday session, the 15-member council unanimously approved the measure calling on all factions in the ongoing civil war to let assistance be delivered to millions of people struggling throughout the country.
The Associated Press reported that this was the first time that the UN council was able to unite and pass a resolution dealing with the Syrian crisis.
Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryKerry to media: Scale back terror coverage Top Dem concerned about 'calamitous conditions' in Yemen State: US concerned about missile defense system at Iranian uranium facility MORE said the agreement is "all about saving innocent lives and relieving the burden on Syria's neighboring countries."
"After three years of slaughter and savagery, people rightfully will question whether progress is possible, but this resolution holds the promise of something real," he said in a statement.
More than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict between rebels and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government. There are more than 2.4 million refugees registered in the region — spread across Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt — according to the UN Refugee Agency.
“This resolution should not have been necessary. Humanitarian assistance is not something to be negotiated; it is something to be allowed by virtue of international law,” said the UN chief. “Profoundly shocking to me is that both sides are besieging civilians as a tactic of war.”
This story was updated at 7:38 p.m.