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EU extends sanctions on Syria regime for another year, pledges over $2bn to support refugees

May 28, 2024 at 7:36 pm

Syrian refugees are seen at the refugee camp in Idlib, Syria on June 17, 2022 [Muhammed Said/Anadolu Agency]

The European Union has extended its sanctions against Syria’s regime for another year, until 1 June 2025, and has pledged over $2 billion for Syrian refugees and their host nations, as the bloc fails to see a political resolution to the thirteen-year conflict on the horizon.

According to the EU Council’s press service yesterday, the body “extended EU restrictive measures against the Syrian regime and its supporters until June 1, 2025, given the gravity of the deteriorating situation in Syria”. A review of the measures left 316 individuals and 86 legal entities on the current sanctions list, with five deceased individuals and one other person being removed.

The decisions followed on from the 8th edition of the Brussels Conference on ‘Supporting the future of Syria and the region’, which brought together delegates from EU member states, countries surrounding Syria, the United Nations, as well as other countries, donors and international organisations.

At the conference, the EU also pledged €2.12 billion ($2.3 billion) for this year and 2025 toward the assistance of Syrians within their home country and as refugees in neighbouring countries. The funding will also go toward the refugees’ host communities in the likes of Turkiye, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

READ: Divisions, elections and Assad lay bare Europe’s Syria quagmire

The bloc further reiterated the need for a political process in Syria in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254, and emphasised the necessity to mobilise more financial support to address the most vital and urgent needs of Syrians, both within Syria and displaced in other countries.

The plight of Syrian refugees 13 years into the ongoing civil war in Syria was particularly highlighted by Jordan’s Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi, ahead of that donor conference, as he lamented the international community’s abandonment of the refugees amid dwindling funds to support them.

Speaking to reporters upon his arrival in Brussels, Safadi expressed “a very clear message from Jordan as a host country that we feel that refugees are being abandoned”, as well as host countries also “being abandoned”.

Safadi stated that Amman will “continue to do everything we can. But unless we’re helped, unless the international community shoulders its responsibility, there will be a decrease in services, and there will be more suffering for refugees.”

READ: Cyprus seeks EU help to stem surge of Syrian refugees from Lebanon