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Syrian Donor Conference Aims for Record Target

  • Henry Ridgwell

Seventy world leaders are due Thursday in London for the fourth Syria donors’ conference. The United Nations wants $9 billion to help fund humanitarian relief and projects to help refugees.

The toll on civilians grows heavier by the month as Syria’s civil war enters its sixth year.

The United Nations estimates more than a quarter million people have been killed. Four and a half million Syrians have fled the country, and a further 6.6 million are internally displaced, half of them children.

Previous donor conferences have focused on raising funds for humanitarian relief.

U.S. Assistant Secretary for Refugees and Migration Anne Richard says the agenda in London is different.

“This year there are more ambitious goals, which are to do more to educate children, to get jobs for the refugees, to bring development resources to bear, to help people get to safety, not just in the region, but beyond as well," said Richard.

World leaders are aiming to raise $9 billion. Last year the United Nations received only $3.3 billion of the $8.4 billion promised by donors.

Jordan warned this week that the "dam could burst" if it did not receive more support to deal with the estimated 630,000 refugees on its soil. Mohammed Momani is Minister for Media Affairs.

"Europe and the international community can give enough commitment and support to shouldering part of the responsibility that the host countries are undertaking in this period of time," said Momani..

Richard says the United States is working towards accepting thousands more Syrian refugees.

“We have a process that is slow and thorough, and intent on ensuring that no bad actors get into the United States. And we are trying to do as good a job as possible to bring in more refugees without undermining the program," she said.

The images of drowned three-year-old refugee Aylan Kurdi, and the pictures of people starving in the town of Madaya, have focused attention of the plight of Syria’s people. The response of the world’s governments is being watched closely.