World Lead­ers pledge £7bn for Syr­ian Refugees

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL -

World lead­ers have pledged more than £7bn to tackle the Syr­ian refugee cri­sis - the largest amount ever raised for a hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis in one day.

Some £4.1bn was promised for this year at a con­fer­ence in Lon­don - and a fur­ther £3.4bn will be handed over by 2020, David Cameron an­nounced. Bri­tain is do­nat­ing an ex­tra £510m, tak­ing the to­tal UK fund­ing to £2.3bn.

De­spite the promised aid, the UN and Syria’s neigh­bours are strug­gling to cope with the num­ber of refugees flee­ing the war, and say they need £6.2bn for 2016 alone.

The vast ma­jor­ity of Syria’s 4m-plus refugees are in Turkey, Jor­dan and Le­banon. The PM said the three coun­tries have agreed to ed­u­cate refugee chil­dren to en­sure there is no “lost gen­er­a­tion”.

He said the 70-na­tion con­fer­ence had sent out a clear mes­sage to the peo­ple of Syria: “We will stand with you and we will sup­port you for as long as it takes to se­cure peace in Syria, to re­store sta­bil­ity to the re­gion and to give Syr­ian refugees a chance to go back and re­build their homes and their coun­try.”

Mr Cameron also urged Rus­sia to use its in­flu­ence with the Syr­ian govern­ment to bring an end to the five-year civil war.

United Na­tions Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon hailed the aid con­fer­ence as “a great suc­cess”.

Past aid con­fer­ences for Syria have failed to raise even half the amount promised in Lon­don. How­ever, for­mer for­eign sec­re­tary David Miliband, head of the hu­man­i­tar­ian char­ity the In­ter­na­tional Res­cue Com­mit­tee, said the refugee cri­sis could not be solved overnight.

Un­less sig­nif­i­cant sup­port was given to Syria’s neigh­bours strug­gling to cope with the in­flux, the con­se­quences would reach Europe, he said.

“I think we’ve got to end the fic­tion that this is a short­term prob­lem that is go­ing to go away,” said Mr Miliband.

“All the in­di­ca­tions are that the war is rag­ing and even if the war was to end to­mor­row there is no way Syria is go­ing to be built in any­thing like a cou­ple of years.

“It’s a long-term prob­lem and th­ese coun­tries have to be helped with it and the ev­i­dent con­se­quence when they’re not helped is that peo­ple come to Europe.”

Rebels in the Syr­ian city of Aleppo are now sur­rounded from the north, south and east fol­low­ing ad­vances by Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al As­sad’s forces.

Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Ah­met Davu­to­glu told the con­fer­ence the hu­man­i­tar­ian cor­ri­dor be­tween Turkey and Aleppo has been cut off as Mr As­sad’s troops in­flict a “siege of star­va­tion” on the city. He said they are us­ing the same tac­tics they used in the be­sieged town of Ma­daya, where dozens have starved to death.

– www.sky.com

Syr­ian refugees in the Jor­da­nian city of Mafraq.

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