The European Union is stepping up its response to the Syrian crisis with promises of additional humanitarian aid, as well as tighter sanctions on several high-ranking officials.
The European Commission said it has set aside another €20 million ($24.2 million) to Syria, bringing its total humanitarian aid allocation for the country to €40 million. The new funding will be used to provide health care, shelter materials, food, water and psychological support to some 1.5 million people within Syria and those taking refuge in nearby countries. It will be channeled through the Red Cross and U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, among other EU humanitarian partners.
The European Union’s announcement of new aid is rather timely: The United Nations and its partners have just reported a sharp rise in humanitarian needs inside the country and around its borders.
Meanwhile, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva appealed for the protection of civilians and emphasized that “the targeting of aid workers has to stop.” This is in light of risks faced by aid workers in Syria, particularly those from the Red Crescent, which has lost at least five staff members and volunteers while responding to the crisis there.
The Council of the European Union also made a similar call for full and safe access for humanitarian workers. This was among the conclusions EU foreign ministers adopted at their latest meeting in Brussels. The ministers also agreed to tighten the bloc’s arms embargo on Syria and impose travel bans and asset freezes on a number of high-ranking Syrian officials.
Apart from the European Union, the Arab League will be providing $100 million in aid to Syrian refugees, Qatar Prime Minister Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani said in a July 23 news conference.
Read more news on Syria and development aid online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.