Brussels conference raised $7.1 billion for Syrian refugees

BRUSSELS — Despite the global economic difficulties resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine,  international donors pledged $7.1 billion in aid for Syrian refugees and their host countries during a conference in Brussels. Some 70 countries and organizations participated in the conference.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said that the US donated $808 million to support the efforts of the United Nations in ending the Syrian crisis.

European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi said that despite the ongoing war in Europe and COVID-19 pandemic, donors are currently sending strong signals to Syria and neighboring countries that they are willing to give more than ever.

Josep Borrell Fontelles, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, announced that the Union will pledge $1.1 billion for displaced persons, refugees, and their host countries. He stressed the EU will not normalize relations with the regime of Bashar al-Assad or allocate funds for the reconstruction of Syria, fearing that it would fall into the Syrian regime’s grip.

The Arab League, which took part in the conference, called on the international community to continue providing all the necessary support to confront the crisis of displaced persons and put an end to the Syrian Civil War.

United Nations Special Envoy to Syria Geir Otto Pedersen stated that a political solution to the Syrian crisis remains elusive and stressed that Syrians have never needed support more than they do now. Pedersen highlighted the failure of the Syrian regime to make any significant progress in meeting international demands for political reforms.