Finland will host a Syrian aid conference on January 23-24, the United Nations announced Friday.
“Finland will bring together key humanitarian and development stakeholders on 23 and 24 January in Helsinki to discuss the response to the protracted crisis in Syria and neighbouring countries, now into its sixth year,” UN spokesman Jens Laerke told reporters at the UN in Geneva.
The UN said the Helsinki conference on supporting Syrians and the region will gather senior representatives of governments in the region, UN agencies, international financial institutions, donors, representatives of international and national non-governmental organisations, and the private sector.
“The conference will focus on key humanitarian priorities inside Syria, where over 13.5 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance; strengthening protection for the more than 4.8 million refugees from Syria now in neighbouring countries; and building resilience inside Syria as well as for the more than 4.4 million vulnerable people in neighbouring countries,” Learke said.
Also participating in the conference will be Stephen O’Brien, OCHA under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, and Filippo Grandi, UN high commissioner for refugees, Learke said.
Of the 4.8 million Syrian refugees now in neighbouring countries, Turkey hosts some 3 million, more than any other country in the world.
The country has spent around $25 billion helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of Syrian civil war.Syria has been locked in a devastating civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests – which erupted as part of the Arab Spring uprisings – with unexpected ferocity.Since then, hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have been killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.