Governments seek aid for Syria

BRUSSELS – Governments will seek more than $US6 billion pounds ($F12b) in aid for Syria at a two-day donor conference from Tuesday, which the European Union hopes will also offer Russia, Turkey and Iran a chance to renew peace efforts. As the conflict enters its eighth devastating year, Brussels has invited some 85 governments and non-governmental agencies to raise funds for humanitarian aid, limited reconstruction and de-mining of shattered cities. “Funding the aid response is critical,” said Robert Beer at aid agency CARE International. “But funding is only part of the picture — the systematic and deliberate blocking of aid inside Syria must end, and aid workers must be granted unimpeded access to civilians,” he said in a statement.

This, the third annual conference after London in 2016 and then in Brussels last year, could help return some electricity and water to cities heavily damaged in the West’s campaign to push out Islamic militants. But the majority is likely to go to help the refugees outside Syria and the millions displaced within, including some 160,000 people who fled a bombing campaign by Syrian ally Russia in eastern Ghouta near Damascus over the past six weeks. The $12b target is similar to the amount raised last year, but officials say they want to go beyond that level now. Rebuilding destroyed cities such as Aleppo is likely to take billions more dollars, however, and cannot start until powers involved in the proxy war back a peaceful transition away from the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the EU says. Some of the biggest aid donors include the European Union, the United States, Norway and Japan. || Global donors to seek more than $6 billion for Syrian aid