Syria appeal falls short of United Nations target

26 April, 2018, 00:10 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini speaks to the media following a meeting as part of an international conference on the future of Syria and the region in Brussels on Tuesday.—AFP

Worldwide donors pledged on Wednesday $4.4 billion dollars for Syrian civilians suffering from their country's crisis, a figure that fell well short of a projected target of $9 billion.

The EU on Wednesday urged Russian Federation and Iran to pressure Damascus to engage in talks to end Syria's bloody civil war, as worldwide donors pledged billions of dollars to help civilians caught up in the conflict.

The head of the United Nations aid agency UNOCHA called the $4.4bn "a good start" but a group of nine worldwide aid organisations said the conference "did not go almost far enough".

"The Conference renewed and strengthened the political, humanitarian and financial commitment of the global community to support the Syrian people, the neighbouring countries, and the communities most affected by the conflict", the statement read.

The conference's participants are expected to raise funds to provide aid to the Syrian people, particularly refugees, as well as to discuss the recent developments in the country and the current state of the political process aimed at resolving the crisis.

During the conference, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne announced that the French effort for the period 2018-2020 would amount to more than a billion euros in support of the Syrian people and host communities: nearly €250 million in grants and €850 million in loans.

He said "we've made a good start", even though the pledges would fall well short of the estimated $7 billion the U.N.is seeking.


He added that Turkey hosts more than 3.5 million registered Syrians, "without any discrimination in terms of their ethnicity or beliefs".

More than 700,000 people have been displaced since the start of this year alone as Assad has stepped up his offensive against rebel forces, intensifying the humanitarian crisis.

The funds will be used for humanitarian aid within Syrian borders, and to help Syrian refugees in Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

These amounts will make it possible to help the Syrian population and to establish the conditions in Syria conducive to the voluntary, safe and sustainable return of the refugees when the time is right. "It is a natural phenomenon as the conflict continues year after year", Steiner said.

Some 6.1 million people are now internally displaced in Syria, more than five million have fled the country and 13 million including six million children are in need of aid, according to the UN.

"We must not let down the people of Syria", Stylianides said, adding that the meeting's number one priority was a political solution in support of the UN-led talks in Geneva and the transition to a peaceful, democratic, and stable Syria.

"After seven years of conflict that continues to see escalation after escalation, the needs of Syrians have never been higher", said Mueller, the United Nations assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs.

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