In Syria, the principles of international law are being disregarded time and again – such as in eastern Ghouta right now. It is difficult for humanitarian aid workers in Syria to gain access owing to the tense security situation in the country. A large number of armed actors, shifting lines of conflict and bureaucratic obstacles are further problems. All too often, humanitarian operations are deliberately obstructed by the parties to the conflict – a flagrant breach of humanitarian principles. Many people in Syria therefore receive no essential relief goods such as food and medicines, or only sporadically, and live in sometimes catastrophic conditions. The United Nations estimates that 13.1 million people in Syria are dependent on assistance, including over six million internally displaced persons. A further 5.5 million Syrian refugees are in need of support in countries neighbouring Syria. Since neighbouring countries are unable to shoulder this burden by themselves, Germany is also supporting the United Nations aid agencies and bilateral partners in the region. The Federal Foreign Office is strongly committed to facilitating immediate and unhindered humanitarian access to all those affected and to providing targeted support for humanitarian aid measures in the regions of Syria that have been hardest hit by the humanitarian impact of the ongoing conflict.
The Federal Foreign Office is committed to finding a political solution to the conflict at a number of different levels. In addition to diplomatic initiatives, stabilisation measures are intended to support political processes and ultimately promote the resolution of armed conflicts. It is often the case that a central government is supported, as in Iraq, or a moderate opposition such as in Syria. In Syria, for example, the stabilisation funds are being used to co-finance civil defence – the White Helmets. Administrative structures are also being upheld so that no vacuum is created in the absence of regular state structures. The focus is always on negotiation processes, which is why the Geneva peace talks for Syria are also supported directly with these funds. In 2017, almost ten percent of the Federal Foreign Office’s global stabilisation funds were committed to Syria.