Int'l donors pledge 4.4 bln Dollars for Syria

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini speaks to the media following a meeting as part of an international conference on the future of Syria and the region in Brussels on Tuesday.—AFP

"In an ideal world, we would have liked to raise even more money and we do expect to receive additional funding this year".

More than 6.1 million people are now internally displaced in Syria, more than 5.6 millionhave fled the country and 13 million including six million children are in need of aid, according to the UN.

It said donor pledges for addressing the humanitarian crisis in Syria have come up short after the United States declined to pledge any funds.

Earlier, the United Nations warned that two weeks after its forces took full control of Eastern Ghouta, the regime has yet to allow United Nations humanitarian aid to enter the main town of Douma. He said his country had played a major role in preventing one of the major crises of the European Union by agreeing to control the irregular flow of people across the Aegean.

The UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, fresh from talks in Moscow at the weekend, also briefed the conference saying the recent western attacks on Syrian chemical weapons sites had been a wake-up call prompting high-level diplomatic discussions.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani announced a new pledge of $100m in 2018 by the State of Qatar in continuation of its commitment to alleviate the Syrian humanitarian disaster.

Russian Federation and Iran are Mr Assad's key allies and their military intervention in Syria is widely seen as tipping the balance in the civil war.

"This conference did not go almost far enough to provide adequate support to the millions of Syrians in need of assistance and who are left facing an uncertain future", they said.

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With nearly 400,000 people displaced since mid-December and tens of thousands pouring in from other regions, Idlib has also been hit by air strikes in recent weeks as fighting continues, Mueller said.

"The bitter truth is that despite all our combined efforts conditions have deteriorated".

She told Middle East Eye: "We can not separate humanitarian aid from the political track".

This was more than just a donor summit.

The EU, along with many other major donors, refuses to fund serious reconstruction, rather than emergency aid, in Syria until there is a meaningful peace process in Geneva.

"There would be a direct interest in Moscow as well as Tehran and I limit myself to those two capitals to identifying ways to contribute positively to a political solution", Federica Mogherini, EU Foreign Affairs Chief said.

"We are seeing an escalation in military activities which is exactly the contrary" to what they promised, Mogherini said. "Let us hope that the global community is keener to reach a political solution".

Staffan De Mistura, the United Nations special envoy on Syria, added that while he had not been "expecting a breakthrough" on the political front at the conference, that he was pleased "we did not have confrontation in the room".

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