Berlin is upping its aid to Syria and refugees in the region, pledging to deliver an extra €1 billion. The UN has urged donor countries to contribute, warning that 13 million people are in need of emergency aid.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced on Wednesday that Germany will donate an additional €1 billion ($1.22 billion) in aid to Syria and neighboring countries who are hosting Syrian refugees.
“In Syria alone there are still more than 13 million people who are dependent on humanitarian aid,” Maas said as he arrived in Brussels for a humanitarian aid drive for Syria.
“We must not leave the people of Syria alone,” he added.
The Foreign Ministry announced that another €300 million could be tacked on to Germany’s pledge once the German government finalizes its budget this summer.
Alongside Germany’s concerns over the “protection of the civilian population,” Maas emphasized that Germany was “strongly committed to the effort” to restart the political process to resolve the conflict.
During last year’s United Nations aid drive for Syria, Germany was the largest donor and has contributed around €4.5 billion in aid to Syria since 2012.
Emergency aid lacking
Over 80 delegations from dozens of countries are participating in the two-day donor conference, which is being co-hosted by the UN and the European Union.
The UN and the EU hope not only to mobilize financial support to aid Syria and neighboring countries, but to also revive the stalled Geneva peace talks.
Aid organizations are hoping that donors at this year’s conference will surpass the $6 billion in emergency humanitarian aid that was pledged last year. The heads of UN agencies warned on Tuesday that only $2.3 billion have been received so far.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in Syria during the country’s seven-year civil war. Millions of Syrians fleeing the conflict are being hosted in neighboring countries including Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan as well as Germany.
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