Norway is contributing NOK 22 million to organisations that are providing emergency relief to Syria and assisting Syrian refugees. “I am deeply concerned that the Syrian authorities are not allowing aid organisations necessary access to provide emergency relief in conflict areas, particularly in the city of Homs. Norway urges the Syrian authorities to give humanitarian aid organisations full access to those in need without delay,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
State Secretary Torgeir Larsen announced Norway’s contribution at the Friends of Syria meeting in Tunis. Norway also supports the call by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent for a daily ceasefire to allow safe passage for humanitarian convoys.
The humanitarian situation in Syria is critical after a long period of violent conflict. Many people have been killed, and large parts of the population have inadequate access to food, medicines and medical treatment. Most of the Norwegian funds will be channelled through the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. Norway will also support local voluntary groups.
“The Syrian Arab Red Crescent is doing an important job in a difficult situation, but their capacity has been stretched to breaking point. International aid organisations and other local voluntary groups must be given the opportunity to carry out humanitarian operations. This is dependent on international funding from countries like Norway, but the most important thing is that the Syrian authorities are willing to give these organisations access and thus show that they respect international humanitarian law,” said Mr Støre.
Norway will also provide support for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan through the UN and civil society organisations. Support will also be provided for internally displaced people in Syria who have been driven from their homes.
“Unless the levels of violence subside significantly and greater humanitarian access is allowed, the flow of refugees to neighbouring countries and the number of internally displaced will increase dramatically,” said the Foreign Minister.