Record aid raised, Syria truce agreed

States attending the Donor Conference in London set a record by pledging more than US$10bn in humanitarian assistance in a single day, aimed at securing a future both for Syrian refugees and the citizens of neighbouring states hosting them.

Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, where a significant share of the money pledged will be spent, committed to ensuring all refugee children in their countries would have access to education, and to opening up their economies so adult refugees could work.

Norwegian Ambassador Mona Juul told Embassy that the over-arching goal of her Government – also a co-host for the conference – was to ensure there will be no “lost generation”, both in the refugee and the host communities. Norway’s pledge of $1.17 billion will focus on education for children but also vocational training and improving access to higher education for young people.

Another aim will be to give the two million children inside Syria, currently unable to go to school, access to safer learning, she added.

“Three million Syrian children are not able to attend school because of the war. Norway is committed to ensuring that children in situations of war and conflict are able to exercise their right to an education.”

But the positive achievement of the conference contrasted with intensified fighting in the Aleppo province of Syria, after the Russian-backed Syrian Army launched an offensive on rebel-held positions, resulting in a new exodus of refugees and the suspension of peace negotiations in Geneva.

At talks in Munich aimed at reviving the diplomatic process, international powers agreed to a “nationwide temporary cessation of hostilities” to start within a week. However a list of agreed terrorist groups may still be targeted. They also agreed full humanitarian access to Syria’s besieged civilian centres.