Q: France has repeated on several occasions that humanitarian aid in Syria would remain a priority in 2020. Can you clarify what France has proposed and what it intends to do in concrete terms with respect to humanitarian aid in the Idlib region?
A: As the minister for Europe and foreign affairs and his European counterparts reaffirmed in an opinion piece published today in the newspaper Le Monde, Syria is facing a new humanitarian disaster, one of the worst in a Syrian crisis that has brought about countless disasters.
In this context, we must guarantee safe and unrestricted humanitarian access to all those in need through continued cross-border assistance. We call on Russia not to thwart, over the next few months, the UN Security Council’s renewal of the mechanism to deliver to northwestern Syria the cross-border humanitarian assistance that is vital to the region.
In 2019, France significantly stepped up its humanitarian assistance for northwestern Syria, allocating €18.8 million for that region. In particular, it unblocked an emergency €5.27 million at the end of the year for the civilian population via the UN’s Syria Cross-border Humanitarian Fund. France will continue to mobilize its efforts in 2020 on behalf of Syria’s civilian population. In light of the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in northwestern Syria, it has asked the European Commission to convene an emergency meeting of European donors.
As all the European ministers who signed the article stated, the Syrian regime and its backers, especially the Russians, must immediately end the hostilities.