Norway provides NOK 35 million in “winter package” for Syria

“The Syrian winter is harsh and cold, and the hard-hit population is in desperate need of assistance to meet basic needs such as shelter. We have therefore disbursed NOK 35 million to Syrian refugees and internally displaced people,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide commented.

 The funds are being channelled through the Norwegian Refugee Council, Norwegian People’s Aid and Norwegian Church Aid, and will be used to help Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon prepare for winter, and to assist internally displaced people in Syria. So far this year, Norway has disbursed a total of NOK 210 million to alleviating the crisis in Syria. 

The number of internally displaced people is increasing. At the same time, Syria’s neighbouring countries have now received more than half a million Syrian refugees. 

“It is particularly difficult for the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross to help the internally displaced in areas that have been cut off because of the fighting. Aid organisations operating from Syria’s neighbouring countries and across the borders are therefore playing a crucial role,” Mr Eide said. 

Many of those in need of help are to be found in areas that are strongholds for the Syrian opposition. Yesterday, State Secretary Torgeir Larsen met the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and demanded that they respect that humanitarian personnel have a right to protection. The fact that Norway considers the National Coalition to be the legitimate representative of the Syrian people in the current situation means that we have clear expectations that they respect international humanitarian law and human rights. 

Mr Larsen is today participating in a meeting of the Friends of Syria group in Marrakech. A majority of UN member states are attending the meeting to discuss the situation in Syria with the National Coalition.  

“Our aim is to contribute to further alleviating the humanitarian situation in Syria, including in areas controlled by the opposition, where  traditional multilateral aid channels are unable to reach. We will do so in dialogue with the National Coalition,” Mr Eide said.

 

 

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