Syria slams 'hypocrisy' of donors

  • Published : Mar 15, 2019 - 21:35
  • Updated : Mar 15, 2019 - 21:35

       DAMASCUS (AFP) - Syria on Friday accused donors who  pledged aid to help its citizens displaced by the country's eight-year war of  "hypocrisy" as they continue to impose sanctions on the regime.

    International donors -- led by the European Union -- meeting on Thursday in  Brussels pledged nearly $7 billion in aid for 2019 for civilians caught up in  the conflict.

    But European powers stressed progress on a UN-led peace process must come  before they release funds to rebuild Syria -- though they no longer insist President Bashar al-Assad must go.

    "The hypocrisy of the discourse of the officials of some countries taking 
 part in the Brussels conference is both laughable and angering," a source at the foreign ministry said.

    EU sanctions have deprived "the European Union of any credibility when it speaks about helping Syrians and alleviating their suffering," state news 
agency SANA quoted the source as saying.

    The source criticised what it called the "deliberate and systematic 
 politicisation of the humanitarian issue and attempts to use it through 
 conferences like these to continue to exert pressure on Syria and compound the  crisis".

    It slammed the conference for not inviting the Damascus government, calling  it the "main concerned party" in the matter.

In this Feb. 22, 2019 file photo, men walk to be screened after being evacuated out of the last territory held by Islamic State militants, near Baghouz, eastern Syria. (AP-Yonhap)

    Since late 2011, the 28-member bloc has imposed sanctions on 277 Syrian  officials including Damascus ministers over their role in the "violent 
repression" of civilians.

    It has frozen the assets of some 72 entities and introduced an embargo on  Syrian oil, investment restrictions and a freeze on Syrian central bank assets  within the European Union.

    The United States has also imposed a flurry of sanctions against Syrian 
 officials, and had worked to hamper oil shipping to Syria.

    Damascus says the sanctions have contributed to a fuel crisis in the 
 country, which on Friday marked the eighth anniversary of its civil war.

    Numerous rounds of US-backed peace talks have failed to stem the bloodshed,  which has killed more than 370,000 people and pushed millions more from their homes.