France Pledges over $60 Million to Syria Aid

France Pledges over $60 Million to Syria Aid

Tuesday, 17 April, 2018 - 09:30
French President Emmanuel Macron. (AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
French President Emmanuel Macron revealed on Monday that Paris will pledge 50 million euros ($61.9
million) for urgent humanitarian aid in Syria.

He made the announcement after a meeting with a group of non-governmental organizations (NGO) in Paris.

"This evening I brought together NGOs working on the ground in Syria. Faced with the humanitarian situation, France is setting up an emergency program of 50 million euros," Macron said on his official Twitter account.

The funds will be allocated to NGOs and UN agencies working on the ground in Syria, including the UN office for humanitarian affairs, the French president's office said.

Some two dozens NGOs participated in the meeting with Macron at the Elysee presidential palace, including Action Aid, Handicap International, the Red Cross and Care.

The projects will focus on the Idlib region where some 1.2 million displaced people live, according to UN estimates, as well as the Eastern Ghouta region near Damascus and in the northwest in areas recently liberated from the ISIS group.

According to the UN, some 13 million people including six million children are in need of humanitarian aid in Syria, ravaged by a seven-year war that has displaced millions.

The United Nations said on Thursday that it was hopeful of getting aid to at least 100,000 Syrians who are desperate for help after months of battle ended years of siege around the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta.

Macron’s decision comes two days after France took part in US-led air strikes on chemical sites in Damascus following a chemical attack in the Ghouta town of Douma.

The strikes raised fears of an escalation of the conflict in which more than 350,000 people have died, but key players on Monday appeared keen to shift the focus to diplomacy.

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