Humanitarian aid to areas liberated from Isil

'Norway will provide an additional NOK 80 million to humanitarian organisations that are helping people who are fleeing the hostilities in Syria. This funding will also be used to provide life-saving support in areas that have been liberated from the terrorist group Isil. There is a tremendous need for immediate humanitarian aid in these areas,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The UN fears that 25.000 people could be trapped in the city of Raqqa. There is reason to believe that civilians are being used as human shields by Isil. In addition, several hundred thousand people have already fled to the neighbouring areas and there is a great need for food, shelter and medical assistance. The UN is also expecting tens of thousands of people to flee from Deir ez-Zor as a result of the continued fighting between the Syrian army and Isil.

'It is important to provide urgent assistance to those who are forced to flee the hostilities, and to help people to return to their homes. We will consider providing further assistance to civilians as more areas are liberated from Isil, said Mr Brende.

'The fight against Isil is succeeding. As a result of the efforts by the Global Coalition to Defeat Isil, the terrorist group has lost considerable ground in Iraq and Syria. Norway is playing an important role in the fight against this terrorist group, in both civilian and military terms,' Mr Brende added.

More than 13 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, and more than six million people are internally displaced.

At the donor conference for Syria in London last year, Norway pledged NOK ten billion over a four-year period for the Syria crisis. By the end of 2017, Norway will have disbursed NOK five billion. Norway will fulfil its commitment to provide significant support for the Syrian people and the neighbouring countries over the next few years.