White Helmets Briefing Note on the Brussels VII Conference
Over the next two days, the European Union will be hosting the 7th Brussels Conference on “Supporting the People of Syria and the Region”. We call on donors to reaffirm their support to the people of Syria and center the voices of Syrians, in all their diversity, in all discussions about Syria. The White Helmets have prepared recommendations for European Union (EU) member states and other donors participating in the Brussels VII Conference, informed by our volunteers’ local lived experience of the crisis in Syria.
The European Union will be hosting the seventh Brussels Conference on 'Supporting the future of Syria and the region' on June 14-15. The Brussels Conference is the main pledging and member state conference on the crisis in Syria and neighboring countries, with a day of dialogue for civil society consultations, and a ministerial level pledging event. It is an important opportunity to reassert the international community’s commitment to and support for Syrians, refugees, and their host communities.
The Conference this year comes at a critical time. The humanitarian needs are at an all-time high following the earthquakes that hit Syria and Türkiye on February 6 and with over a decade of conflict. Prior to the earthquake, 15.3 million people were found to be in need of humanitarian assistance across all Syria, exacerbated by the now 8.8 million people who were affected across Syria, primarily in Aleppo and Idlib governorates, and to a lesser extent Lattakia, Tartous, Homs and Hama. Against this spiraling catastrophe, the Syrian regime has continued airstrikes, targeting non-government controlled areas in the northwest of Syria, which is severely undermining the humanitarian response to the devastating impacts of the earthquake.
For over 12 years, the people of Syria have endured numerous crimes committed by the Assad regime against the civilian population, including the use of chemical weapons, forced displacement, targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure, enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest and killing under torture. However, despite this grim outlook, the Brussels Conference offers a unique opportunity for the international community to revive political commitment and concerted efforts towards a resolution of the crisis and a political settlement in line with UNSC 2254.
With this in mind, this briefing note provides recommendations for European Union (EU) member states and other donors participating in the Brussels VII Conference, informed by our volunteers’ local lived experience of the crisis in Syria. These recommendations include those pertaining to humanitarian assistance, justice and accountability and the path towards a political settlement.
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