World leaders are once again pressing for unhindered aid access into Syria, where humanitarian needs are rising and aid groups face an increasingly difficult working environment.
This latest call for access, especially for foreign humanitarian groups, was part of a communiqué adopted by members of the so-called Friends of Syria at end of their July 7 meeting in France. At the meeting, the group also pledged international support for Syria’s transition and reconstruction.
On the political end, the group reaffirmed their support for joint U.N. and Arab envoy Kofi Annan, called for stronger U.N. Security Council action on Syria, and proposed tougher sanctions against the country’s regime.
These new pledges by the Friends of Syria group came amid calls for “humanitarian corridors” from Syrians themselves. Abdel Basset Sayda, head of the main opposition group Syrian National Council, said “all steps have to be taken to establish a humanitarian corridor and a no-fly zone,” the Daily Star reports.
Ahead of the meeting, the United Kingdom and Germany announced 9 million pounds ($14 million) and €500,000 ($614,000) in additional humanitarian aid for Syria. Australia, meanwhile, pledged 5 million Australian dollars ($5.1 million) for medical and food supplies after the meeting.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has warned that hundreds of thousands of Syrians face food shortages because of the monthslong violence there and lack of access to aid.
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