Canada Marks Third Anniversary of Syrian Crisis

March 14, 2014 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, today made the following comments ahead of the third anniversary of the ongoing crisis in Syria.

“It is three tragic years since the conflict in Syria began, with the Assad regime responding to peaceful demonstrations with obscene and brutal repression,” said Baird. “The situation has since deteriorated into a major humanitarian catastrophe with alarming social, economic and political consequences throughout the region. Canada maintains that only a political solution will lead to the peace, security and freedom the Syrian people have demanded.”

“Canada is appalled by the Assad regime’s blatant disregard of international humanitarian law, including its wilful denial of assistance to besieged populations and the deliberate targeting of humanitarian workers,” said Minister Paradis. “As unacceptable as these acts are, they will not deter our efforts to get basic, life-saving assistance to those in need. Canada will continue to support those displaced by this conflict, as well as supporting the countries across the region who have taken in huge numbers of refugees.”

“The Syrian people must believe that they have a place in a new, free, democratic and pluralistic Syria,” said Baird and Minister Paradis. “Canada will continue to work with our allies to ensure that all Syrians have a better, brighter future.”

A backgrounder follows.                       

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Backgrounder - Canada’s Assistance in Syrian Crisis

Canada has committed more than $630 million in humanitarian, development and security assistance in response to the crisis in Syria. This includes $353.5 million in humanitarian assistance donated through United Nations agencies, the International Organization for Migration, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and non-governmental organizations. Canada’s funding provides food, shelter, clean water and sanitation, health care, education and protection for the most vulnerable.

The tremendous impact of the conflict on children calls for immediate action to mitigate the worst consequences of war on a generation of children. Canada is deeply committed to supporting children affected by the conflict. In January, Prime Minister Stephen Harper committed $50 million to UNICEF’s No Lost Generation strategy to protect the futures of these children.

Canada has also committed $210.6 million to support development projects in the region—specifically those related to health, education and the delivery of basic services—that will strengthen government services and infrastructure stressed by the influx of Syrian refugees and to address Jordan’s development challenges.

Further, Canada has committed $67.6 million in security-related assistance to address the impact of the Syrian crisis, including $46.5 million for Jordan. These funds will help mitigate the threat of chemical weapons and other weapons and materials of mass destruction, assist Jordanian security forces in managing the non-humanitarian aspects of the influx of Syrian refugees and contribute to Jordan’s counter-terrorism capacity. This also includes $4.1 million in stabilization assistance in areas including civil administration, accountability, independent media and secure communications to Syrian activists and civil society members.