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Germany gave 14 million Euros of aid to northeast Syria in 2020

February 15, 2021

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The German federal government has provided about 14 million Euros of aid to northeast Syria in 2020, a German official confirmed last Tuesday.

In a written reply on Thursday to a question of German lawmaker Helin Evrim Sommer, Antje Leendertse, the State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office, reported that the German government supported non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in northeast Syria with approximately 14 million euros in the areas of health, hygiene and nutrition.

This includes sectors of health (approx. 5 million Euros), water, sanitation and hygiene (approx. 5 million Euros) and nutrition (approx. 3 million Euros), the official explained. In addition, the Federal Government is funding humanitarian aid in other sectors with a volume of almost 1 million Euros.

Sommer, a member of the German parliament and development policy spokesperson for the Left Party parliamentary group, in a statement to Kurdistan 24 on Friday welcomed the German support for humanitarian work of NGOs despite Turkish opposition.

Turkey has for several years closed its borders for humanitarian aid and also several years ago cracked down on NGOs in Turkey that were working in northeast Syria.

“These are important future investments in the Public services that will benefit everyone,” she said. “However, humanitarian aid could be much more effective if the Federal Government actively cooperates with the self-government of Northeast Syria.”

The German government has reportedly preferred to work with humanitarian organizations rather than directly the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES).

In August last year, German ambassador for Negotiations on Syria and Head of Division for Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Anti-ISIS Strategy Robert Rohde told the Atlantic Council event that Germany is working with NGOs, local communities at a grass root level, but not only with the Kurdish-led AANES.

The German diplomat said they avoid working exclusively with the self-administration “because we have no official contacts with the self-administration,” as “it is not an internationally recognized entity.”

Nevertheless, there was coordination last year with the AANES for repatriations of German ISIS families and Germany said it would work in the future to organize more ISIS repatriations from Syria.

Sommer also condemned the Syrian regime's obstruction of the humanitarian aid to northeast Syria.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Syrian government has often withheld or delayed such permission, prohibited certain medical and other supplies from reaching non-government-held areas, and also prevented UN agencies from carrying out essential projects in these areas.

“(This) has to be condemned in the strongest possible terms, as it is an expression of unscrupulous policies against those sections of the population who do not want to unconditionally submit to the dictator in Damascus,' she concluded.