Violence has increased again in Idlib province in northwest Syria
Syrian regime forces and their allies have continued their offensive in the southeast of the Idlib de-escalation zone over the past weeks, and have stepped up their ground attacks since 24 January. As a result, the already disastrous humanitarian situation in Idlib province has become significantly worse. In response, Germany has decided to provide a further 25 million euros to help overcome the humanitarian crisis in the region.
The regime and its allies attacked hospitals in the village of Sarja on 26 January and in the town of Ariha on 29 January. Another hospital, which receives Federal Foreign Office funding, had to be evacuated due to the sustained attacks. Attacks were also carried out on a refugee camp and a market, that is, on places where civilians flee in search of protection or basic necessities. These are just a few examples of the targeted attacks on the civilian population in Idlib. This is a blatant breach of international humanitarian law.
With every day of attacks, which often do not distinguish between militia and civilians, the suffering of the civilian population increases. As the Federal Chancellor stated during her visit to Turkey last week, the German Government is willing to continue providing substantial support to those who have been forced to flee.
German support and partner organisations
The German Government has already provided just under 28 million euros this year for measures to protect the civilian population and to help displaced persons in northwest Syria. The groundwork is being laid for the provision of a further 25 million euros. This funding for humanitarian aid measures is used by various national and international partner organisations.
Alongside direct funding to humanitarian aid organisations, the UN’s Country-based Pooled Funds (CBPF) remain an important instrument in Gaziantep for cross-border measures in northwest Syria. Germany provided around 27 million euros to this fund in 2019, thus making it the second-largest donor after the UK.
In total, the Federal Foreign Office provided 302 million euros for humanitarian aid measures in Syria last year, 156 million euros of which went to the World Food Programme and 58 million euros of which was spent on NGO aid measures in northern Syria, including the CBPF.
The focus of the humanitarian aid measures funded by the German Government in northwest Syria is on food aid, health, water, sanitation, the procurement of relief supplies and the provision of shelter. The recently pledged funding will mainly be used to build emergency accommodation for internally displaced persons who have fled from the ongoing fighting towards the Turkish-Syrian border.
Supporting an end to the violence and a negotiated political settlement as envisaged by Resolution 2254
The German Government reiterates its calls on the Syrian regime and its supporters to guarantee the protection of civilians and to uphold international humanitarian law. The German Government condemns the military offensive by the regime and its allies in the strongest possible terms and calls for an immediate ceasefire to protect the civilian population – a ceasefire that is worthy of the name.
With the support of Geir Pedersen, UN Special Envoy for Syria, the German Government continues to strive actively for a peaceful end to the conflict as envisaged under UN Security Council Resolution 2254.