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The Syria conflict is entering its tenth year. Tenth year of an awful war that has caused the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War. Over half a million people have died and half of Syria’s entire population had to flee their homes. An entire generation of Syrian children has only known war.
And it is still not over. Because the Syrian people are still living in fear. They are still suffering. Their future is still held hostage and Europe cannot and will not look away. Syria is an immediate neighbour of the European Union and its stability matters to us. We also need to preserve the order of our world: the mass crimes that have been committed in Syria, by all parties to the conflict, cannot remain unpunished.
That is why the European Union has stood by the Syrian people since 2011. We have supported them and continue to support them, both inside Syria and in the neighbouring countries. Countries like Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey in particular have shown extraordinary solidarity towards the very large numbers of Syrian refugees they are hosting, and we have heavily supported them too.
The European Union, with its Member States, is the largest provider of international aid to those affected by the Syrian crisis. We have been delivering more than €20 billion in humanitarian, stabilisation and resilience assistance to Syrians.
But this is not enough. We must do more to end the suffering of the Syrian people. First and foremost, we need a political solution to the crisis. And this we cannot do alone.
That is why we host, together with the United Nations this fourth Brussels Conference for the Future of Syria and the region where we are bringing together all relevant actors that are needed to address the current situation.
We will reaffirm our strong support to the United Nations efforts to find a comprehensive and lasting political solution. And we will mobilise the necessary financial support for Syria and the neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees.
We will continue to engage in a meaningful dialogue with civil society from Syria and the region, because the Syrian people will have to decide the future of Syria, and we will stand by them in doing so.
Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-192559