ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The European Union has adopted a new €18 million program to support stabilization efforts in areas the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) liberated from the so-called Islamic State in northeastern Syria.
The new program, announced on Thursday, will focus on the provision of basic services, such as water supplies and demining, within the governorates of Raqqa and Deir al-Zor.
The program will complement ongoing humanitarian and stabilization efforts by the European Union, EU member states, and other partners from the Global Coalition.
“The European Union has always been at the side of Syrians,” High Representative and Vice-President Federica Mogherini said. “Since 2011, we have mobilized around €17 billion to help Syrians affected by the conflict and their host communities.”
“In accordance with the commitments taken during the Third Brussels Conference, we are stepping up our engagement to address humanitarian needs and support stabilization in the areas liberated from [ISIS],“ she added.
“This work is essential to allow the local communities to go back to live in safety and we will never withhold our support to the Syrian people.”
Following a prolonged military offensive on the extremist group’s last remaining pocket of territory in war-torn Syria, the US-backed SDF announced victory over the Islamic State on March 23.
The EU described the military victory against the Islamic State as“an important step toward eliminating the threat of the terrorist organization in the region,” adding stabilization “remains a priority for the European Union.”
The post-Islamic State local administration in Syria’s northeast needs more support to start rebuilding and provide services for people.
The city of Raqqa was almost totally destroyed after a three-month-long campaign and US-led coalition airstrikes.
The administration also needs more financial support to host thousands of Syrians displaced by the conflict in camps.
For instance, the al-Hol camp in Syria has been far over its capacity for residents and currently houses around 70,000 people, many of them women and children. Most of them fled from the recent battle in Baghouz.
In April, France said it would continue its commitment to provide humanitarian aid to displaced people in northeastern Syria with an additional one million euros (nearly $112 million) in funds.
On Friday, the Syrian Tribes Forum, a gathering of Syrian tribes, called on the international community to support reconstruction in the northeast.
“The International Community bears its responsibility, and its rapid movement for reconstruction in areas liberated from terrorism and urgently those who are in the east of the Euphrates,” the tribes said.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany