Al Attiyah: Qatar Contributes around $1.6 Billion in aid to Alleviate Suffering of Syrians

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Doha /Information Office/ 10 February 2015/ HE Foreign Minister Dr Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah said that Qatar contributed around $1.6 billion in aid to help alleviate the suffering of Syrian people. In an article published in The Telegraph newspaper, HE A Attiyah said: "So far, Qatar has contributed around $1.6 billion in aid to help alleviate the suffering of those caught up in the conflict. Qatari aircraft are regularly delivering aid to the region, comprising food, winter clothes and medical supplies, as well as delivering many other urgently needed humanitarian supplies to the homeless victims of the Syrian conflict, many of whom are now enduring one of the worst winters in the region for decades." Qatar, he said, has pledged to continue its humanitarian support efforts to ease the suffering of all those affected by this terrible conflict. "At the same time, we continue to work closely with our regional and Western allies to try to end the conflict: to this effect, we have introduced strict new measures to crack down on the funding of terrorism." "For the children and young people languishing in refugee camps, it is not just about meeting their humanitarian needs, but also about making sure that a feeling of neglect does not turn into a feeling of despair. For despair can easily turn these young people into eager recruits for radical groups - and if we turn our backs on them, we risk exposing them to the lies and distortions of those who seek to destroy our values and demonise our faith." "Certainly, if we fail these children, who are the most vulnerable victims of our region's conflicts, then we risk creating a lost generation - one that will be exploited and persuaded to act on behalf of nihilistic egoists who have enslaved themselves to an ideology of hate. "As we mark the fourth anniversary of the Syrian civil war, the humanitarian consequences of the conflict are simply staggering", he said, adding on top of the estimated 200,000 people who have been killed - many of them civilians - more than 12.2 million, well over half the Syrian population, now find themselves in need of some form of humanitarian assistance. Of these, some three million have fled the country, and a further 7.6 million have been forced to flee their homes, effectively becoming refugees in their own land. The enormous scale of this tragedy, moreover, has come at a great cost for Syria's neighbours, in particular Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, which find their own resources under tremendous strain as they seek to help the distressed and dispossessed. HE the Foreign Minister added the longer the war continues, the more likely it is that the humanitarian crisis in Syria will spread far beyond its borders and have a profound impact not only on the stability and economic well-being of these neighbouring states, but of the entire world. "It is for all these reasons that Qatar has been proud to play its part in the international coalition striving to end the war. But it is vital that we in the international community do not lose sight of the importance of dealing with its appalling humanitarian consequences. This is why, during the Munich Security Conference in Germany over the weekend, I sought to inject renewed vigour and purpose into resolving this crisis. "Yet while Syria’s brutal civil war continues to dominate the headlines, we should not forget that many other countries in the Arab world are also struggling to deal with serious challenges to their stability. Iraq, Yemen and Libya are grappling with their own internal conflicts, while the long-standing dispute between the Palestinians and Israelis remains a constant source of tension, particularly the plight of Palestinians living in Gaza. "And there is another reason why the international community must not lose sight of the humanitarian challenges these conflicts create. The deprivation, displacement and disruption of families that are at the heart of any humanitarian crisis often lead to an increase in sectarian and ethnic tensions, which extremists can exploit to their own advantage. If they succeed, then the task of rebuilding those communities once the conflict has ended becomes much harder, if not impossible. "This is why one of the main aims of Qatar's aid programme is to try to soothe the refugees' suffering in order to protect them from the possibility of manipulation and exploitation by violent militias and other radical groups. Indeed, we must all act to forestall the creation of disadvantaged and deprived parts of the Arab population who are perennially vulnerable to the messages of hate propagated by the extremists. "To this end, it is vital that every effort is made to resolve this and other conflicts plaguing the region, by promoting the concepts of justice, equality, and the right to self-expression. These principles are enshrined in the United Nations Charter and in many international agreements that have the force of law, but all too often they get overlooked.