Germany pledges €1.four billion for Syrian refugees

BERLIN 

Germany pledged 1.44 billion euros ($1.6 billion) Thursday for Syrian refugees and internally displaced people.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement that Germany would strongly support the European Union and UN’s humanitarian efforts to ease the suffering of the Syrian people.

“Until conditions in Syria make voluntary return in safety and dignity a genuine option, the world cannot leave the people there and in neighboring countries to cope on their own,” he said.

“That is why, at this year’s Brussels Conference on Syria, Germany is making available a total of 1.44 billion euros,” he added.

Germany’s top diplomat also called on the Syrian regime and other parties to the conflict to adhere to humanitarian principles.

“All parties to the conflict must allow full humanitarian access to all population groups and adhere to the rules of international humanitarian law. The displaced must be protected against persecution and their fundamental rights and property rights must be guaranteed,” he said.

Attacks in Syria’s Idlib

Amid recent regime shelling and Russian airstrikes in Syria’s Idlib province, Maas warned against a dangerous escalation of an already tense situation in the region. 

“Developments in Idlib in particular are a source of grave concern to us. Any renewed flare-up of the fighting must be avoided at all cost,” he said. 

The recent attacks inside Idlib’s de-escalation zone killed at least 15 civilians, according to the White Helmets civil defense agency.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.

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