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Foreign Minister Maas on humanitarian assistance for northwest Syria

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Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (25 November) on the Federal Foreign Office’s support for the UN’s Syria Cross-Border Humanitarian Fund:

The winter is fast approaching, temperatures are dropping and the weather is worsening – also in northwest Syria, where the humanitarian situation is catastrophic and around 2.7 million internally displaced persons are dependent on humanitarian assistance. The spread of coronavirus is exacerbating the situation still further. If it gets cold in the region, rains non-stop or even snows, the situation in the frequently more than inadequate shelters quickly becomes life-threatening. This is why it continues to be important that the international community provide assistance.

We are providing a further 20 million euro for winter relief for the UN’s Syria Cross-Border Humanitarian Fund to ensure that the onset of winter does not amount to a death sentence. This assistance can only reach the people in northwest Syria across the border from Turkey.

While humanitarian assistance saves lives at risk, it cannot resolve the conflict in Syria politically in the long term. Germany is therefore continuing to lend its support to the efforts of UN Special Envoy Pederson with respect to a political process to resolve the conflict.

Background information Germany is supporting the UN’s Syria Cross-Border Humanitarian Fund (SCHF) with an additional 20 million euro for winter relief (10 million euro in 2020 and 10 million euro in 2021). The fund is administered by UN OCHA.

The assistance provided is distributed to the needy population in northwest Syria by Syrian NGOs in particular, as well as by international NGOs and UN aid organisations. The measures include sourcing accommodation built to withstand winter conditions, distributing mattresses, blankets and warm clothing, ovens and fuel, safeguarding the drinking water supply and improving people’s general hygiene.

With this funding, Germany has supported the SCHF with a total of 40 million euro in 2020 (26.7 million euro in 2019) and is thus the fund’s biggest donor.