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Save Syria's Idlib from fate of Aleppo, UN envoy pleads

26 April 2018, 12:34 | Myrtle Vega

A destroyed hospital

A destroyed hospital in Idlib

More than 80 countries, aid groups and United Nations agencies are meeting in Brussels for the second day of a conference on the future of Syria, after the UN's special envoy warned of a looming humanitarian catastrophe in the rebel-held region of Idlib.

"We want Syrians to know that they are not forgotten, we're appealing on their behave for an end to the violence", said Mark Lowcock, Representative for U.N. Humanitarian Affairs.

Germany has already given 4.5 billion euros in aid to Syria since 2012. The conference began Tuesday and will look to support Syrians - both inside the war-torn country and across the region - and communities hosting refugees, as well as aim to bolster support for a political solution.

Humanitarian agencies also pleaded for peace before the Syrian military and its Russian and Iranian backers turn their firepower on the rebel-controlled Syrian city of Idlib, warning of civilian suffering on a greater scale than during the siege of Aleppo past year.

"The pledges announced today are a good start,"Lowcock said". "This conference didn't go almost far enough to provide adequate support to the millions of Syrians in need of assistance and who are left facing an uncertain future".

"Nearly 13.1 million people, almost half of whom are children, urgently need humanitarian assistance and protection inside the country", the document says.

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The Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, who is facing elections in two weeks, said: "The bitter truth is conditions have deteriorated for refugees since past year", adding "Lebanon remains a big refugee camp". He pointed out there had been a re-escalation of violence in 2018 and a failure after a year to deliver on the issue of detainees, prisoners and missing people.

Achim Steiner, head of the UN Development Program, told Reuters there was a risk of so-called donor fatigue because of the sheer length of the multi-sided war.

"We believe that the only sustainable peace for Syria will be linked to a political process under the United Nations auspices", Mogherini said.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has called on Russia, Iran, and Turkey to do more to scale down the fighting in Syria.

UN deputy aid chief Ursula Mueller also told the UN Security Council that the situation in rebel-held Idlib was "catastrophic" with tens of thousands of displaced Syrians from Eastern Ghouta and elsewhere seeking refuge there. He stressed that the global community should resolve the issue of the Syrian people and not deal with just one attack, noting that this should happen through a political solution that all parties agree on.

He said that "Idlib is the big new challenge - 2.5 million people. there are women, children, civilians, and this is looming up there".



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