The international community pledged on Wednesday to finance humanitarian aid to Syria’s population and refugees to the sum of 4.4 billion US dollars (about 3.6 billion euros) in 2018, UN Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock said on Wednesday at the Brussels II Conference for Syria. “We’ve made a good start,” said Lowcock, adding that the UN would have wished to raise more funds. He thanked the European Union, Germany and the United Kingdom for their substantial contributions.
Eight years into the Syrian conflict, the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in the region. The UN hoped to raise nine billion U.S. dollars (7.3 billion euros) to assist the 6.1 million internally displaced people in Syria and more than five million refugees in neighbouring countries, particularly in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.
In addition to its humanitarian objectives, the Conference was aimed at obtaining political support for the peace process piloted from Geneva by the United Nations but currently at a standstill.
Representatives of some 80 countries and international organizations all admitted at the conference that relaunching the political process was indispensable to arriving at a solution to the Syrian conflict, EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini stressed. All actors present recognized the key role of the United Nations, which needs to continue to sponsor the political process, she said.
The negotiations launched in Geneva by the United Nations have scarcely advanced in eight cycles since the regime of Bashar Al-Assad refuses to negotiate with its opponents, who are divided and weakened on the ground. On Wednesday, the EU once again called on the allies of Damascus – Russia and Iran – to put pressure on the Syrian regime to agree to sit at the negotiating table.