Turkish officials urge international burden-sharing on Syria
As the civil war in Syria marks its 10th year, Turkish officials reiterated the calls for “international solidarity and burden-sharing” for displaced Syrians.
“International solidarity and burden-sharing is essential to support the neighboring countries,” said Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal said in a video message to the conference Supporting the Future of Syria and Region organized by the U.N. and EU.
“We look forward to European Union’s continued cooperation in this regard,” Önal added.
Önal underlined that it was of the “utmost importance” that the international community ensure that “millions of Syrians are not deprived of this life-saving assistance.”
“We are hosting almost 3.7 million Syrians in Turkey and together with IDPs [internally displaced persons] on the other side of the border, we are looking after the needs of almost 9 million Syrians,” he said.
For his part, Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kıran said that Turkey “practically assumes the responsibility” of 9 million Syrians, including those in Syria.
He said the EU “has to take into consideration the massive burden Turkey is shouldering since the beginning of the crisis.”
Donors pledge $6.4 billion for Syria
Meanwhile, international donors pledged $6.4 billion in humanitarian aid on March 30 to help Syrians fleeing a decade of civil war, but short of a $10 billion goal as governments struggle with weakened economies in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the fifth annual conference held to keep Syrians from starvation, the event hosted by the European Union sought $4.2 billion for people displaced inside Syria and $5.8 billion for refugees and their hosts elsewhere in the Middle East.
The U.N. had raised more than $7 billion in 2020 and 2019, although U.N. officials will still press for more pledges throughout this year and have time, as the money is split between 2021 and 2022.
Financial institutions and donors have also agreed low-interest loans worth $7 billion, said Janez Lenarcic, the EU Commissioner for Crisis Management.
Germany pledged $2.04 billion, its largest amount in four years.
The EU’s support, which comes from its common budget and is separate from member states, was steady at 560 million euros. Other pledges came in throughout the day including $100 million from Qatar and almost $600 million from the United States.
Britain pledged $281.16 million, although David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee, said the amount was lower than the pledged last year, urging London to provide more.