Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – As donors gathered in Brussels at an international pledging conference for Syria organized by the European Union on Thursday, UN chief António Guterres highlighted the immense suffering of the Syrian people, which he said “defies description”.
The UN was asking for $11.1 billion dollars – its largest appeal worldwide – to support Syrians inside the country and those displaced in the broader region, Mr. Guterres said.
By the end of the conference, donors announced €5.6 billion in grants, tweeted the UN refugee agency chief Filippo Grandi, reiterating that pledges must “translate into tangible contributions for Syrians inside the country, those on the move and the countries hosting them.
Nearly the entire population of the country lives below the poverty line. Mr. Guterres warned that there was “no time to spare”, as aid will run out for 2.5 million Syrians next month, for lack of financing.
Mr. Guterres also reiterated his call for a sustainable political solution to the conflict that would involve all Syrians.
“We must chart a path forward for the Syrian people to find a degree of stability and a measure of hope for the future”, he said, stressing that this required progress towards “credible and comprehensive” negotiations, in line with Security Council resolution 2254. Adopted in December 2015, the resolution drew up a road map for a peace process in Syria.
The crisis has driven more than 13 million people to flee their homes, including 6.8 million Syrian refugees who escaped to neighbouring countries.