The donors conference for Syria held in Brussels has delivered Thursday, nearly $ 7 billion to help the refugees, but the release of funds for reconstruction has been conditioned to a peace process to be credible.
“The commitments total $ 7 billion (6.1 billion euros),” announced the european commissioner for humanitarian Aid Christos Stylianides at the close of the meeting.
The united Nations had estimated the financial needs for 2019 at $ 5.5 billion (4.4 billion euros) to assist about 5.6 million Syrian refugees outside their countries (Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt) and to $ 3.3 billion (2,9 billion EUR) to the displaced populations inside the country.
“We are delighted onu side. Thank you for your generosity”, said the deputy secretary-general of the organization Mark Lowcock. “These funds will help save and protect millions of lives”, he stressed.
The most important contribution to the national announced is coming in from Germany with 1.44 billion euros). The United States pledged 350 million euros ($397 million), while the United Kingdom has pledged a total of 464 million euros. Italy has allocated € 45 million for 2019, and € 45 million for 2020, Belgium € 24 million, Austria € 9 million.
The european Union has allocated 2 billion euros from the common budget.
“Aid alone cannot address the syrian crisis,” pointed out, however, Mark Lowcock.
The Conference should not only be a fund-raiser, insisted the head of european diplomacy Federica Mogherini: “Syria must remain a top priority for the international community”.
But there is “no question of a normalization with the regime in Damascus, which some countries of the EU would be willing to do that,” warned an eu diplomat.
– Aid diversion –
“The fear is that the international aid being diverted to the regions trusted the system”, he explained.
It is “fundamental” that it can be routed to the regions of the North Is freed from the grip of the group islamic State (EI) by the democratic Forces in syria (SDS) dominated by the Kurds, said the eu diplomat.
“The risk is that these regions can be attempted by a modus vivendi with the regime (of Bashar al-Assad) to protect Turkey if they are abandoned”, he explained.
A portion of the funding from the european Union and its member States must be used for the reconstruction of Syria, whose regions have been devastated by 8 years of war.
But the money “will be disbursed only if a peace process to be credible begins in Geneva under the auspices of the united Nations,” warned Federica Mogherini.
“It is necessary that the syrian regime is at the table in Geneva,” said the head of diplomacy of the belgian Didier Reynders.
“We hope that in the next few months we will be able to see them move the political situation. This will start the reconstruction and work on the return of refugees”, he said.
Belgium and several other EU countries — France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the netherlands and Denmark — have added another condition: the fight against impunity for the crimes committed in Syria.
“The war is not over in Syria,” said Didier Reynders. The representative of the UN echoed: “A military offensive of great magnitude against Idleb would provoke a humanitarian catastrophe”.
The city of Idleb, in the north-west of the country, is controlled by the jihadists of Hayat al-Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an organization formed by the ex-branch of the syrian Al-Qaeda, and represents the last bastion in Syria hostile to the regime in Damascus.