Syria donors call for world’s attention as war in Ukraine rages on

AFP

3 min read
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell rings the bell at the start of the fifth international donor conference for Syria at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium, on May 10, 2022.
Kenzo Tribouillard/AFPEU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell rings the bell at the start of the fifth international donor conference for Syria at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium, on May 10, 2022.

'Now it is Ukraine in the headlines. But don't give up on Syria,' Borrell says

International donors held a sixth pledging conference in Brussels for conflict-wracked Syria on Tuesday, saying Syrians should not be forgotten even as the Ukraine war grips world attention.

"World public opinion seems not to be able to deal with more than one crisis at the time," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said as he opened the event.

He admitted "a certain fatigue" among donors, adding: "Now it is Ukraine in the headlines. But don't give up on Syria."

Last year's donors' conference raised a total of $6.4 billion, with the money to go to helping Syrians and to neighboring countries struggling with Syrian refugees - not to the Damascus government.

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Much of the money will go to help Syrians who are sheltering in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, as well as Egypt and Iraq.

The conference brought together around 70 countries and international institutions, including UN agencies.

The Syrian war started in 2011 and is now in its 12th year, with more than half a million people estimated to have been killed. 

The forces of President Bashar al-Assad, with backing from Russia and Iran, have been battling rebels opposed to his rule, most of them in Syria's northwest.

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Sweden's participant at the conference, junior minister for international development Jenny Ohlsson, said: "The crisis in Ukraine, of course, takes a lot of attention... But we remain steadfast and focused in our support to the Syrian population."

Her country, she said, would donate $70 million.

According to UNICEF, 9.3 million Syrian children need aid both inside the country and in the wider region around Syria.

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