|Date: Jul 1, 2020|
|Source: The Daily Star|
|Syria donors conference pledges 6.9 billion euros|
|Agence France Presse|
BRUSSELS: International donors pledged 6.9 billion euros ($7.7 billion) to face the ongoing humanitarian challenges of the nine-year Syrian crisis, the EU announced Tuesday.
The pledges were made at the Brussels IV conference hosted by the European Union and United Nations to assist war-affected people inside and outside Syria.
"I wish to stress that today's event comes in particular difficult time," EU Commissioner for crisis management Janez Lenarcic told reporters.
Against the "sobering background" of the coronavirus pandemic, "we must be all the more pleased with the overall pledge of support," he said.
The war in Syria has killed more than 380,000 people and displaced nearly half of the country's pre-war population since it started in 2011.
"An entire generation of Syrian children has only known war and it is still not over," said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.
The future of the Syrian people "is still held hostage and Europe cannot and will not look away," he added.
On the eve of a key conference, Oxfam and other leading aid groups had called for increased access and funding for millions of Syrians at risk of starvation.
After the pledges, Marta Lorenzo, Oxfam's Middle East Director, said the amounts were "simply not enough".
"It's shocking that the international community has failed to recognize the urgency of the situation despite clear calls from Syrian civil society," she said.
The previous donors' conference for Syria in 2019 had raised nearly $7 billion in pledges.