UN Needs $10 Billion for Syria
The United Nations on Tuesday called on international donors to chip in at least $10 billion to aid Syrian refugees, in the fifth annual conference hosted by the European Union. According to the latest UN reports, 24 million Syrians are currently in need of basic aid, including food, shelter and medicine, a spike of four million people in the past year and the highest figure to date since the devastating civil war began in 2011. “It has been ten years of despair and disaster for Syrians,” UN aid chief Mark Lowcock said in a statement Tuesday. “Now, plummeting living conditions, economic decline and COVID-19 result in more hunger, malnutrition and disease. There is less fighting, but no peace dividend,” he said. On Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed the UN Security Council, calling on Russia to reopen several border crossings into Syria serving humanitarian purposes, which were recently blocked by Moscow. Using its veto power, Russia, which has backed ruthless Syrian strongman Bashar Assad in his crackdown against rebels over the past decade, has left only one crossing open, citing concerns of violations of Damascus’ sovereignty. Over half a million people are believed to have died in the war, with over 12 million Syrians either internally displaced or seeking refuge in foreign countries.