Syria: Statement by the High Representative on the 11th anniversary of the beginning of the conflict
Yesterday marked 11 years since the beginning of the tragic and bloody conflict in Syria. Unfortunately, the conflict continues still today, and the humanitarian needs are at their highest with 14.6 million Syrian people in need of assistance inside and outside of the country. Syrian refugees constitute the largest displacement crisis in the world with 5.7 million registered refugees. Another 6.9 million Syrian nationals are displaced within Syria.
The Syrian people remain a priority for the European Union. The international community must keep up the search for a durable and comprehensible political solution in Syria, and the European Union remains fully committed to this goal.
At their meeting with UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen at the Foreign Affairs Council on 24 January, EU Foreign Ministers restated their unity and reconfirmed the EU’s position: no normalisation with the Syrian regime, no reconstruction and no lifting of sanctions until a political solution in line with UN Security Council resolution 2254 is firmly underway. At the same time, the European Union continues to support the efforts of UN Special Envoy Pedersen, including his “steps-for-steps” approach, and remains committed to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian state.
The European Union cannot and will not look away as the future of Syria and its people are held hostage to the conflict. This is why on 10 May, the European Union will co-chair with the UN a sixth Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the region, with the participation of governments, international organisations and Syrian civil society.
As in previous years, the conference will allow the international community to renew its political commitment vis-à-vis the Syrian people, will provide an opportunity for fresh financial pledges to be made and will also provide Syrians themselves a platform to be heard.
The European Union and its Member States remain the largest provider of international aid and deliver humanitarian, stabilisation and resilience assistance inside Syria and in neighbouring countries. Last year the EU as a whole pledged €3.7 billion in total for 2021 and beyond. Since 2011, the EU and its Member States have mobilised over €25 billion for the conflict in Syria.