Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Save Syria's Idlib from fate of Aleppo, UN envoy pleads

A destroyed hospital in Idlib A destroyed hospital
Ray Hunter | 26 April, 2018, 12:53

Global donors will pledge $4.4b (3.6b euros) in aid of the Syrian conflict at a Brussels conference Wednesday, a senior United Nations official said, well short of the amount hoped for.

The head of United Nations aid agency UNOCHA Mark Lowcock said the gathering needed to raise some $8 billion for work inside Syria and with refugees in neighbouring countries, warning that some programmes may have to be cut back if funds are not forthcoming.

Around 80 countries, organizations, and partners are attending the donor conference in Brussels.

He stressed on importance of finding a political solution to the end the eight-year-old conflict and said that the suffering of the Syrian people was aggravated by use of chemical weapons in violation of all worldwide laws and human principles. "We are talking about a vast sum of money and there is a lot of pressure on the financiers", he said.

It notes that, according to information received in 2017, 2.3 million people are still living in besieged and hard-to-reach areas.

U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock, a co-chair at the conference, said the regional response plan of over $5 billion was 27 percent funded so far, with $1.2 billion already committed.

The Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, who is facing elections in two weeks, said: "The bitter truth is conditions have deteriorated for refugees since past year", adding "Lebanon remains a big refugee camp".

Drug takeback is Friday, Saturday
Spencer said a prescription drug drop box will be available for anyone who wants to turn in medication "no questions asked". Mary Parish Sheriff's Office will participate Saturday in National Drug Take Back Day.

The second day of the Brussels II conference for Syria opened Wednesday with an emphasis on restarting negotiations for a political solution to the conflict while bolstering humanitarian aid for refugees. The geographical advances of the regime show just how much Assad has gained in the north, and that is changing the game.

The funds are not designed for the reconstruction of Syria, something Federica Mogherini, the European Union foreign affairs chief, said could only start after a full peace settlement was in place.

Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on April 25 pledged an extra 1 billion euros ($1.22 billion) in aid for internally displaced Syrians and for Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has called on Russia, Iran, and Turkey to do more to scale down the fighting in Syria.

Idlib, on the Turkish border in northwestern Syria, is held by an array of rebel, Islamist and jihadist forces and has seen an massive influx of people fleeing the conflict.

"It was the closest moment to what one could say a very tense Cold War.", Staffan de Mistura, UN Special Envoy to Syria said.

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