EU: Urgent Action Needed to Dodge Syria Spilloverإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Urgent action is needed to protect countries bordering Syria from spillover from the spiraling civil war there, the EU's aid chief said Wednesday.
"We cannot turn the clock back on Syria, on the tragedy that has happened there, but we still might be able to protect against the flares going into the neighborhood," humanitarian aid commissioner Kristalina Georgieva told reporters in Geneva.
Warning that there was "no end in sight" to the more than two-year conflict in Syria that has left more than 90,000 people dead and has forced more than 1.5 million to flee the country, she cautioned that "day by day there is an increased danger of the neighborhood... being absorbed by the flames of the fire."
Georgieva, who has held her position for nearly four year and who recently returned from a trip to Jordan and Lebanon, insisted that "in my years as commissioner... I have seen many risks... but this is the biggest danger, for the people affected but also in terms of spillover risks for the region, for Europe and for the world."
The world, she said, should urgently "mobilize development funding and macro-economic stabilizers for the region."
She pointed out that with refugee numbers continuing to surge, some host communities are beginning to show signs of hostility.
"Especially in the areas... where refugees already outnumber the local populations, there is definitely a strain," she said.
The flood of refugees has already increased the populations of Jordan and Lebanon by between 10 and 15 percent, and that could rise to as much as 40 percent if the influx continues, she said.
This means more people competing for an already limited supply of jobs, housing, water, school and medical services, Georgieva added.
Earlier this month, the United States and Russia, which back opposite sides in the Syrian conflict, proposed a peace conference dubbed Geneva 2 to bring together rebels and representatives of President Bashar Assad's regime.
Georgieva said a political solution was the only way "to stop this madness", but cautioned that people in the region were pessimistic.
"Some of the leaders in the region would say it would take a Geneva 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 and 6 before a solution can be reached," she said, though she insisted that it was still necessary to push ahead.
"We know from history that even the bloodiest of wars, in the end, need to be sent to history through a political agreement."