Assad regime blocking vital supplies to Syria’s displaced – Alistair Burt

Britain has called on the Syrian regime to remove obstacles to humanitarian aid flows into the country as officials make final preparations for a UN-backed summit on relief efforts

British Minister of State for the Middle East Alistair Burt at the British Embassy. The National
British Minister of State for the Middle East Alistair Burt at the British Embassy. The National

Alistair Burt, the Foreign Office minister of state, said on Monday that the UK would commit at least £4 million in aid to the Syrian crisis as part of pledges to be made at the annual stakeholder’s conference in Brussels.

The British official also called on the Syrian government to end restrictions imposed on humanitarian organisations and provide unfretted access to the country.

Mr Burt said that this week's pledge will bring the UK's total commitment to £2.8 billion since the beginning of the conflict.

The third edition of conference “Supporting the future of Syria and the region” will take place between March 12-14.

“Aid agencies continue to struggle to get the necessary approval to bring aid. It has to stop,” he said.

“If the Syrian regime is not even trying to support those trying to deliver humanitarian assistance to those most in need of it in the country, how can we accept any narrative of change?”

More than six million people had to flee their homes since the beginning of the conflict in 2011. More than 80 per cent of Syrians are now living in poverty, while 5.7 million remain in neighbouring countries.

Speaking after his visit to Lebanon last week, Mr Burt said: “We should be in no doubt of the burden this places on these countries and the generosity they share in supporting them.”

Mr Burt visited schools in Lebanon towards which the UK has contributed.

“I was touched by the children’s enthusiasm for learning and proud that the UK is helping to make a difference in their lives,” he said.

A report released by the humanitarian organisation Save the Children on Monday highlighted that minors under the age of 16 has now lived more of their childhood in the shadow of war than outside of it and called for "a child-focused early recovery in Syria".

Mr Burt also referred to the international conference for Jordan held in London last week as “a great success laying the foundations to unlock further economic growth.”

Updated: March 12, 2019 08:32 AM


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