Oxfam slams rich nations intervening in conflict for failing Syria

Many wealthy countries intervening in the Syrian conflict are failing to give their fair share of financial aid or resettling refugees, anti-poverty group Oxfam said Monday.

Russia is the lowest financial donor to Syrians based on the size of its economy, providing only 1 per cent of its "fair share," Oxfam said in its report ahead of a donor conference in London this week.

Moscow is a key backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has been conducting airstrikes to support the government since September.

Oxfam, which calculated aid and resettlement according to the size of the country's economy, said while Germany and the Netherlands have been generous in their contributions, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have significantly decreased their funding.

Regional power Saudi Arabia is an important supporter of the Syrian rebels and also hopes to diminish the influence of Iran, its arch-rival in the Middle East, while calling for al-Assad to step down.

"The world is failing the people of Syria," said Mark Goldring, Oxfam's chief executive.

"Five years on since the start of the crisis, the violence and suffering continues to escalate but the level of funding and support fails to match," Goldring said.

The charity noted that Australia and France have increased their direct intervention in the civil war, but are not funding the international appeals as much as they should.

Australia and France are part of the international coalition led by the United States that conducts daily airstrikes in Syria, and is also joined by countries such as Britain, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

While Britain has provided more than its share of aid, "it has taken less than a quarter of its fair share of refugees," Oxfam said, adding that its bid to resettle 20,000 refugees by 2020 "equates to each of our 69 cities receiving only around 60 refugees per year, hardly a massive influx."

Analysis by the group found that rich nations have offered to resettle only 128,612 Syrians, about 28 per cent of the minimum they should take based on a "fair share."

An estimated 4 million refugees are in countries neighbouring Syria, it said, urging rich nations to resettle about 10 per cent of them this year.

Last update: Mon, 01/02/2016 - 16:36
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