Syria: Norway has facilitated discussions of longer-term political solutions

Syria is a clear example of how war and conflict can, in a short space of time, set back a country's development by several decades. So far, the war has probably resulted in the deaths of over 300.000 people, but the numbers are highly uncertain. It is estimated that half of the population are now refugees outside Syria or internally displaced within the country.

Millions of Syrians, a large proportion of them children, are in need of food, medicines and health services. The need for humanitarian access is acute, and in the absence of a political solution, the civilian population is suffering.

In the light of this situation, Norway is supporting projects to facilitate humanitarian access, particularly to areas in northern Syria, and has also supported local dialogues aimed at reducing violence. Through various initiatives, Norway has facilitated discussions of longer-term political solutions to the conflict. Norway has also contributed to capacity-building projects for women and civil society, and to the strengthening of local councils with a view to improving the provision of services at local level to the population. This work is being carried out in close cooperation with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

It is vital that a political solution is inclusive and that it has the ownership of the Syrian people. Norway is one of the largest contributors of humanitarian assistance to Syria and its neighbouring countries, and has provided around NOK 1.6 billion since the start of the conflict in spring 2011. The Government will continue Norway's humanitarian efforts and will support the work to find a political solution to the conflict.