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EU grants $263M for Syrian refugees

BRUSSELS

The European Union mobilized €240 million ($263 million) to support Syrian refugees and host communities in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, the European Commission announced on Tuesday.

The new assistance package aims at developing healthcare services and social protection of Syrian refugees and their hosts, as well as promoting education and family care.

The biggest part of the assistance — €100 million ($110 million) — will improve social security and help the most vulnerable local and Syrian households in Lebanon. A further package of €10.5 million ($11.5 million) is specially addressed for childcare and family protection.

Some €57.5 million ($63 million) will be spent on schooling Lebanese and Syrian children.

Jordan will also receive €27.5 million ($30 million) for education and €22 million ($24 million) for healthcare. Another €11 million ($12 million) will be dedicated to empowering local and refugee women.

Iraq’s western Ninewa province will benefit from a €10 million ($11 million) assistance package for housing the returnees and supporting peacebuilding.

The European Union stands by the Syrian refugees and the countries hosting them, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell commented. “Not only to face the most immediate challenges, including the coronavirus pandemic, but also to build up their future,” he added.

The bloc called for an immediate and nationwide cease-fire in Syria in the light of coronavirus in a statement issued by the EU External Action’s spokesperson Peter Stano over the weekend.

Cease-fire “is also a precondition for halting the spread of the coronavirus and protecting an already struggling population from its potentially devastating consequences,” the diplomatic statement pointed out.

In total, the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis has provided more than €2 billion ($2.2 billion) financial aid. The fund was originally set up in 2014 in order to tackle the humanitarian crisis caused by the Syrian war, and will operate until 2023.

EU Trust Fund’s Operational Board receives contributions from the EU Member States, the U.K., and Turkey, which is the largest host country for Syrian refugees.

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