UN humanitarian chief says $6 billion pledged for Syria

http://www.timesofisrael.com/un-humanitarian-chief-says-6-billion-pledged-for-syria/

 

The United Nations humanitarian chief said that 41 donors have pledged $6 billion in 2017 to help those affected by Syria’s war.

An additional $3.7 billion was pledged for 2018 and beyond.

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien said what is now needed is to see the pledges turned into “cash for action” as soon as possible.

“The needs have never been greater and the requirements have never been higher for the Syria crisis. Today has been a momentous opportunity for much of the world to come together to commit more support and solidarity for Syrians and those affected across the region,” O’Brien said in welcoming the pledges, which came at the Supporting the future of Syria and the region conference in Brussels.

The two day conference was co-chaired by EU, UN, Germany, Kuwait, Norway, Qatar and the United Kingdom.

“Nobody is winning this war. Everybody is losing,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said of the conflict during his opening remarks.

“This conference must represent a moment of truth, when the international community takes decisive steps to increase its support for the victims of the Syria conflict, and for the neighboring countries that are providing a safe haven for millions of refugees,” underscored the Secretary-General.

While scheduled well in advance, the conference carried a particular degree of urgency given what is widely believed to have been an additional chemical attack on Tuesday by Syrian President Bashar Assad against a civilian population in Khan Sheikhoun.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (L) and EU High Representative Federica Mogherini answer questions from the press at the Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region Conference on April 5, 2017 in Belgium, Brussels. (Screen capture/YouTube)

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (L) and EU High Representative Federica Mogherini answer questions from the press at the Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region Conference on April 5, 2017 in Belgium, Brussels. (Screen capture/YouTube)

At least 72 people, among them 20 children, were killed in the air strike that injured hundreds of others; dozens of whom were left gasping for air, convulsing, and foaming at the mouth, doctors said.

It is thought to be the worst chemical weapons attack in Syria since August 2013, when sarin gas was used. Then, an attack in the east and southwest of Damascus, killed 1,429 people, including 426 children. A US intelligence report blamed Syria’s government for the attack with “high confidence.”

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan De Mistura told conference delegates “Bottom line: we need to send a constant, strong message, not to ourselves but to the Syrian people that they will not become a forgotten war,” he stated.

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