herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

EU leaders agree €1bn aid to help frontline of crisis

Motasem (left), Ayman Amouneh, Fadi Alkaaraan, Azad izzeddin, Sara Hakim and Ahmad Hajim, members of the Syrian community in Ireland at a demonstration at the Dail
Motasem (left), Ayman Amouneh, Fadi Alkaaraan, Azad izzeddin, Sara Hakim and Ahmad Hajim, members of the Syrian community in Ireland at a demonstration at the Dail

EU leaders have agreed to provide funding of €1bn for refugees in countries beside Syria.

Special registration centres will also be set up in frontline states like Greece and Syria to separate migrants fleeing war from economic migrants, the EU President Donald Tusk has said.

“Hotspots will be set up by the end of November. This is an achievement because only a few days ago it had been very controversial,” Mr Tusk said

He said the leaders, which included Taoiseach Enda Kenny, from the 28 EU countries agreed on increased aid to countries like Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, which are hosting millions of people from war-torn Syria.

“At last an additional €1bn will be mobilised for refugees in the region through the UNHCR and the World Food Programme,” he said.

Meanwhile, members of the Syrian community in Ireland demonstrated outside Leinster House yesterday to draw attention to the ongoing civil war in the country.

The Irish Syria Solidarity Group said that the Syrian regime continued to carry out atrocities among civilians and has called on Irish

representatives to act. 

A spokesman for the Irish Syria Solidarity Group said that action was needed now to stop further violence.

Bombs

One particular issue highlighted by the group was the use of barrel bombs, which can be filled with scrap metal and dropped on towns and cities throughout Syria.

The use of such devices has been roundly condemned for the horrific injuries they have caused to civilians.

Motasem (29), from Syria, who declined to give his second name, has been living in Ireland for 18 months – he took the risk of travelling from Turkey to Greece on a migrant boat.

“It’s difficult when you’re forced to leave your family. It’s difficult when you find your family separated around the world,” he said.

Separately, South Dublin County Council has called for the Irish Navy to be fully deployed to help rescue refugees.

Councillors passed a motion at their monthly meeting earlier this week recognising the crisis and asking for the Navy to be deployed “to their fullest capacity”.

The LE Samuel Beckett today left Cork on its Mediterranean rescue mission to take over rescue duties from the LE Niamh.

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