At the fourth meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People, there’s an air of confidence among world leaders that the 21-monthlong Syrian crisis will soon be over.
Apart from humanitarian aid, world leaders pledged to set up a postwar reconstruction fund for Syria. The details still need to be fleshed out, but Germany and the United Arab Emirates were chosen to manage the fund, The Associated Press reports.
“I believe we are coming close to the end,” Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem said at a news conference following the meeting. “We are coming to the point of talking about the post-Assad era.”
At least 20,000 people have died from the violence that erupted in the Middle Eastern country following an uprising against President Bashar Assad in 2011. Fighting between regime forces and opposition groups has displaced thousands of people and led many of them to find refuge in neighboring countries. More than half a million Syrians have been registered or awaiting registration in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and North Africa to date, according to the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
The United States announced new funding worth $14 million in humanitarian aid. The money will be used to provide monthly rations of highly fortified, ready-to-use food supplements to children, and winter and medical supplies. It will also support a surveillance system that will help medical teams detect and respond early to epidemics.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Minister of International Cooperation Julian Fantino also pledged fresh funding for Syrians: $5 million in “material support” to Jordan and $10 million in humanitarian aid for Syrians inside and outside the country.
Saudi Arabia pledged $100 million in humanitarian aid for the Syrian people as well, Al Arabiya News reports.
Donors did not say who will have access to the funds, but they usually channel aid to nongovernmental organizations and U.N. agencies working on the ground in Syria and neighboring countries. Germany, for one, will course the bulk of new humanitarian aid worth 22 million euros ($28.6 million) through the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Food Program and UNHCR.
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