Thank you for contacting me about the conflict in Syria.
As we mark the ten year anniversary of this conflict, the plight of the Syrian people must not be forgotten.
Unfortunately, progress towards peace in Syria and indeed a Syrian-led, Syrian-owned political process, allowing the Syrian people to decide their country's future, has been slow. The UN-facilitated peace process, in line with UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2254, is the only existing means to achieving this end, and the UK consistently upholds this resolution and urges all other parties to do the same.
I have been particularly appalled by human rights violations in Syria, including the treatment of prisoners and I know that these are issues that the UK continues to raise in international fora as part of its commitment to resolution 2254. This is one of many reasons why Syria remains one of thirty human rights priority countries for the UK, as documented in the most recent Human Rights and Democracy Report last year.
Sadly, if unsurprisingly, the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people are as grave now as they have ever been. An unprecedented 12.4 million people are food insecure – an increase of 4.5 million people in just one year. Children are bearing the brunt of this crisis, with one in eight suffering from malnutrition. The UK is one of the largest donors to the Syrian humanitarian response having committed over £3.7 billion since 2012. FCDO Ministers have assured me that tackling the humanitarian impact of the Syria Crisis remains a priority, indeed, I welcome the UK's recent pledge to provide at least £205 million in aid in 2021/22.
The pandemic has, as in many other parts of the world, significantly worsened the humanitarian situation in Syria. The UK is committed to equitable access to vaccines as demonstrated by our £548 million contribution to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC). UK support will help distribute 1.3 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine to 92 developing countries in 2021, including Syria. The UK is lobbying via the UN to ensure that these vaccines are distributed without interference and to those in the greatest need. Efforts via COVAX complement the UK's existing support to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in Syria, providing water, healthcare, hygiene kits and sanitation support for vulnerable Syrians across the country.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.