European Union External Action

The EU and the crisis in Syria - 2019

20/09/2019 - 16:30
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Eight years after the outbreak of the conflict, the situation in Syria is still critical, with millions of Syrians displaced and in need of protection and humanitarian assistance. The potential for violence remains high, and there is little progress in sight towards a sustainable resolution of the conflict. Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, as well as other host countries in the region such as Egypt and Iraq, have shown extraordinary solidarity towards the refugees, and they continue to need assistance to meet the growing needs of both the refugees and their own communities.

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"As long as the fear and suffering continue, we have the duty to protect and support the Syrian people. The EU has been helping Syrians since the beginning of the conflict and will continue to do so until peace, security and the rule of law are guaranteed”

- EU High Representative, Federica Mogherini.


Only a credible political solution in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and the 2012 Geneva Communiqué will ensure a peaceful future and stability for Syria and the region. For this reason, the EU continues to   work   in   support   of   the   UN-led   Geneva intra-Syrian dialogue, which is the only one that can ensure international support and legitimacy to the peace process. Furthermore, the  EU will maintain its engagement with all regional and international partners and with Syrian civil society to support the UN-led process. It also continues to support the  Syrian  population, as well as refugees and the communities that host them in neighbouring countries, with humanitarian, development, economic and stabilisation assistance.

The European Union believes that sustainable peace goes hand in hand with the restoration of Syrian social cohesion and  dignity,  based on justice and equal citizenship. This can only be achieved when all Syrians will feel safe, free and able to live in dignity in their own country.

The EU believes that the right to safe, voluntary and dignified return is an individual right of refugees and internally displaced persons, and supports their dream of living safely at home. But for Syrian refugees to be able to return to their country, the necessary conditions need to be in place. The EU works closely with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on the conditions that are needed for these returns to be safe, however these protection requirements are not currently met.

Until there is clear evidence that the necessary protection conditions are met, it will be essential to maintain asylum space and to continue strengthening the resilience of refugees and the communities that host them. This is why the EU will continue to show solidarity with and support to refugee hosting countries. The EU’s assistance in response to the Syrian crisis does not only benefit Syrian refugees, but also Lebanese, Jordanians and Turkish people, helping to create job opportunities, infrastructure including schools, as well as better health and water services.

Once a political solution is reached, the EU will help Syrians “win the peace”. However, there can be no shortcuts in the way towards a truly sustainable peace. The EU will be ready to assist in the reconstruction of Syria only once a comprehensive, genuine and inclusive political transition is firmly under way, negotiated by the Syrian parties on the basis of UNSC Resolution 2254 and the 2012 Geneva Communiqué. A guarantee of the rule of law is needed to ensure that reconstruction efforts will benefit all Syrians. The EU’s reconstruction support cannot be invested in a context that would exacerbate pre-war inequalities and grievances. It will only do so if it can lead to genuine reconciliation and peace building.

The focus of reconstruction is not simply on rebuilding infrastructure but the aim is to create conditions that will mitigate or prevent the recurrence of violence and to respond to the grievances that sparked the conflict in the first place.

Brussels Conferences on “Supporting the Future Of Syria and the Region”

The overarching objective of the three Syria Conferences has always been to support the Syrian people and further mobilise the international community behind the work to achieve a lasting political solution to the Syria crisis, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. The Brussels conferences addressed the most critical humanitarian and resilience issues affecting Syrians and communities hosting Syrian refugees, both inside the country and in the region. They reaffirmed the international community’s political and financial support for Syria’s neighbours, notably Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, as well as Egypt and Iraq. The third Brussels conference took place in March 2019 and was the main pledging event for Syria and the region this year, mobilising pledges totalling €8.3 billion for 2019-2020/beyond. The Conference provided even greater space than previous editions for Syrian, regional and international NGOs and civil society organisations, as well as women’s networks